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Open Championship, 2021, The Royal St George’s Golf Club McIlroy Press Conference | The 149th Open

How much do you hope to be able to continue that this week and and bring that open forum into into the championship, yeah for sure, um yeah? I think over the last few years the open has been my um. You know my best. Performances in major championships have been at this event. Um, you know had a really good chance to um. I guess had a good chance to at least put some pressure on francesca with carnegie in 18. Um ended up getting birdie the last there, but uh it’s been yeah. It’S been good, it’s um. You know, even though i’ve sort of grown up on link’s courses and played a lot of links golf you know it’s still you you know when you turn professional. You know 90 95 of the golf you play isn’t this style of golf, so we always have to adjust a little bit and but over the years, i’ve just become more and more comfortable with this type of the style of golf, and i think more than anything Else, it’s there’s just there’s a lot more variables, um in the open championship and on links courses, and once you learn that you can’t control those variables and you just have to go out and accept whatever’s given to you um. So i think, as i’ve got a little more experience and matured um, you know i’ve been able to play this championship a little bit better and yeah. Hopefully i can continue that record this week.

Oh great stuff, we’ll take questions from the floor. Please let me raise your hand, we’ll start here in the middle of sorry, the back there, hello rory. Could you put into words just how much of a profound blow it was to have no open championship for the sport last year and just how much it means and how special it is that it’s now returning yeah, it’s, um Music, profound blow signs very serious. You know there was a lot of events that were cancelled last year because of the the pandemic, and i guess my thought you know even you look at. I always compare golf to tennis, because two individual sports, four majors a year. You know when the open championship and wimbledon were cancelled last year, which was you know of the you know both wimbledon and here. Arguably, the you know the biggest tournaments in uh in their respective sports and for those to be cancelled was you know, even actually walking in our little like open clubhouse. Here this week you know there’s a board with the list of winners and the courses, and you know it says 2020 championship not played and you’re just so used to seeing that at like 1941 or 19 to 1945, like war years and stuff like that and the Fact that every time now you look at 2020, it’s gon na say championship not played it’s it just sort of stuck with me. I was like wow yeah, it was a.

It was a really different and and weird year, but, as you said, i think everyone’s just so glad to be back and playing again and you know inching our way back to some sort of normality. Obviously, next monday is going to be a big day here for for england and the uk and um. You know, i think, everyone’s looking forward to that, but it’s it’s great to be back and great to have fans and yeah just great to be playing an open championship again. Next question: please hi rory um: what were your takeaways from the practice round in other than the lovely weather? Did anything strike you as unexpected about the course um? You know, i think the biggest thing here is the course uh, even before the rain. Yesterday the course was quite lush, quite green. I maybe weren’t getting the the bonuses that um we’re accustomed to getting here at st george’s, with with the the bumpy fairways and honestly, i think the course plays a little better that way um. So i was pleasantly surprised that you know i i i walked away from the golf course on saturday and sunday thinking. This is a much better golf course than i remember it being uh and i think that’s just because of the way it’s playing right now. I think it’s it’s, perfect and, as the the days go on with a little bit of wind and sunshine, you know by the weekend.

It should just be absolutely perfect. It should be playing the way it should play and um, but yeah. I think more than anything else, i i obviously didn’t have great memories from 2011. The way i played – and you know playing the last few days i uh it’s it’s a – and you know this is just my perception and and and because of you know not playing my best at that time. I came back here and it’s it’s much better than i remember: aleister hi rory um related as supposed to the first question. Um you’ve had two years to dwell on what happened in 2019 um, you weren’t able to banish the memory last year. How how much has it has the fact you missed the currently? Was your your home open? How much is that something lived with you as a monkey on your back? Not right, i mean i not really, i i ended up winning the fedex cup in 2019 um. So it gave me a few million reasons to feel better um. I i didn’t dwell on it that much um. It was tough, but you know it’s. You know the great thing about golf is there’s. Always next week you can always get back on the horse. You can always and that’s what i did. I moved forward and set my sights on other things like the fedex cup like um. You know that was basically all there was left to play for that year.

I won a world golf championship in china. I got to world number one at the start of 2020 and then the pandemic hit, and you know the world sort of changed. So you know if anything, it was a catalyst for me to play some of my best golf um. You know i. I left port rush, obviously very disappointed, but you know by by february of 2020 a few months down the line. I got back to number one in the world, so i didn’t dwell on it that much david at the back, please yeah, rory uh. You never like to miss a cut, but the fact that you’ve been here for a few extra days and been able to taper your practice accordingly. Could it turn out to be a blessing in disguise yeah? I i i think so um you never want to miss a cut, as you say, but as as miss cuts go this this wasn’t necessarily a bad one um. You know i wasn’t planning on i’m playing the scottish open a few weeks ago anyway. So, just to get a a couple of competitive rounds in and and just learn a little bit more and you know figure out what i need to do. Um like it would have been great to stay and play an extra couple days in scotland, but um to be down here and get a few holes in on saturday. You know play a full round on sunday i felt like i.

I got a bit of a head start on the on the rest of the field, which um, which feels good. It means now that you know i didn’t even play any holes. Yesterday i played 11 today i’m, probably going to go out early tomorrow and play 18 and um, but i just meant that i can take it a bit easier. The next couple days not feel like i’m trying to cram all the preparation and okay we’re going to take one question now and then move to zoom, but we’ll try to come back so next question in the middle. Please, given the swing changes. Obviously charlotte was such a huge step, but it’s been kind of uneven since, where do you feel like you are on the process of of getting to where you want to be ball striking wise yeah, i feel good um i’ve hit the ball really good in practice. The last few days feel like i figured something out on sunday here: um, which has been really good and uh. You know hit the ball great on the range yesterday, but i hit the ball well today on the course and um it’s hard. You know you’re going thinking to swing so much and it’s really about trying to get that blend of of getting your mechanics right, but then also letting your athletic ability and your instinct shine through as well. So it’s just been just trying to get that balance and um.

You know, as i said, i feel like i figured something out on sunday and and i feel good with it and feel good about where i am going into the week. Okay we’ll hand over to to zoom for a moment: uh liv, i think yeah, you have some questions. Yeah. Thank you mike, and our next question is from kevin. Please kevin! You need to unmute, please yeah, trying there we go done. Rory um an interesting step that i um uncovered that of on three occasions, um in the la in the last sequence of missed cuts. You have bounced back on one three times so of the last nine times. You missed the cut on three occasions coming out straight out the box you won. I just wondered if there’s anything going on there in terms of motivational or psychological, that puts you in a better place or are you fighting harder or is it just a chance? No statistic: no, i certainly don’t think it’s a chance. This statistic: it’s um, look you i think in golf. You always learn more about your game when you’ve missed a cut or struggled or not played as well. I think you know anyone can play well. Anyone can hit the ball grid and you know, give themselves chances to win, not everyone, but you know a lot of people can and but you’ll just you just learn more you i i’ve always learned more from disappointments and from not doing as well, but i’ve always Tried to learn i’ve always tried to figure out okay.

Why did this week not go so well, and then you know, then you give yourself a couple of thoughts and they’re fresh in your mind, going into the next week and that’s. Why, i always say in golf there’s always next week and that’s a great thing, because you know you can you can right some wrongs pretty quickly, uh and i’ve been able to do that in the past um. You know i missed to cut it uh, mr cut. It memorial a couple years ago, went on and won the canadian open the next week, um Music yeah, mr cut it where’d. I miss the cut the masters and then went, and my next start was quill hollow and i won so i just i think golf always just gives you another opportunity to go out and play well and to to see if you’ve learned from your mistakes and i’ve I’Ve always made it a a priority in my career to to really try to learn from my mistakes. Um all the way back to you know what happened at augusta and 11 and and going and winning the us open. The next major i mean i, you know, i had a few things fresh in my mind for a couple of months there and i um made sure if i ever got myself in a position like that again, i wasn’t going to make the same mistakes thanks. Our next question is from brian, please yeah, hi rory um.

You had a very good u.s open i’m. Just wondering. Would you be happy to play the same as you did in that event this week, or was there something about that performance? You feel you need to improve on to have a give yourself another chance this week. Um, i think, if i played like i did at the us. Open i’d take my chances, but i feel like i can play better um. So yeah look jeez if i’m. Of course sitting here today, if i’m tied for the lead with nine holes to go on sunday, i’d, obviously take it and take my chances um, but i still feel like i can. I can play better than that right. Thank you and our next question is from frederick, yes, um hi rory um. I was just listening to a podcast about the ryder cup and um victor hovland said you were able to have a chat during the the memorial a couple of weeks ago. I was wondering if you uh recall what you talked about and also how you see him fitting into a european side. Yeah um victor is going to be a you know. He’S gon na be a instrumental player for for the european team for a long time to come. Um i’ve been really impressed with with him and uh and how he’s played even i i i played a practice round with him at pebble beach in 2019 and and he was still an amateur, then and um.

You know what he’s you know. What he’s done already is a pro it’s, really really impressive and yeah he’s a he’s, a good he’s. Obviously a great young player um. You know he’s 20, whatever he is 23 uh 24.. You know he he’s he’s got a really bright future and – and you know, that’s yeah – i mean having someone like him on. The european team can only can only help and um. You know he’s used to playing in the states um. Obviously, a great college career plays most of his golf on the pga tour, so it’s, not as if he’s going to get overwhelmed by you know by anything over there during the ryder cup so um, i can’t remember the conversation that we had but um. I probably told him if he, if he was trying to choose a partner, i’d i’d put my hand up and like to guide him around, but yeah i’m looking forward to teaming up with him in september, we’ll close with a question from bob briefly, please: hey rory, Um, the um, the notion that you can hit a perfect drive here and not be rewarded, just curious. Is there a place on every hole where you can hit it and know where to hit it so that that doesn’t happen, or are you just better off taking your chances and and hitting it down there and and seeing seeing what happens yeah, i mean it’s, not As if every hole’s like that there’s a few holes where you might hit a good drive – and but i i think you know – as i was alluding to earlier with how the golf course is playing right now – you’re not going to get these huge bounces where it Goes into the long thick rough, it might go into the first cut, but you can still control your ball from there, so it’s it’s, certainly not as penal or unfair as it has been in in previous years 2011 was.

It was a little bit like that, but um looking back to o3, for example, it looked really burnt and crispy then, and it looked like a bit of a pinball machine out there so but that’s that’s not going to be the case this week. It’S a lot more lush it’s a lot more green and i think the biggest um, the biggest thing this week is, if you do hit it. Offline you’ve got some really thick juicy rough fun on either side of the fairway, which you just have to avoid. Well, rory thanks is over for your time and very best of luck this week.

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Open Championship, 2021, The Royal St George’s Golf Club Every Hole at Royal St. Georges | Golf Digest