Media Day interview transcript
JULIUS MASON: Good afternoon everyone. I'm The PGA of America's Julius Mason. Welcome to the 95th PGA Championship Media Day. Before we kick things off, please sit back, relax and enjoy the history and tradition that is the season's final major.
JULIUS MASON: That video was brought to you by our good friends at CBS Sports, Rob Correa, and a show of hands of anybody that has goosebumps on their arms after that.
We would like to welcome a few guests we have in attendance: First from the Western New York PGA section, president, Kirk Stauffer; from the Metropolitan PGA section, vice president, Heath Wassem; from the Central PGA New York Section, vice president, Steve Nacewicz; from Saratoga Springs, New York PGA Board Member, Dottie Pepper; from the City of Rochester, Mayor Tom Richards; from the town of Pittsford, supervisor Sandra Zutes; from Oak Hill Country Club, president Ron Pluta; PGA head professional, Craig Harmon; general manager, Dan Farrell; and superintendent, Jeff Corcoran. And representing a large body of PGA staff from PGA of America headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens Florida, the Chief Executive Officer of The PGA of America, Pete Bevacqua.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to invite to the podium, general chairman of the 95th PGA Championship, Marty Glavin.
MARTY GLAVIN: Thank you, Julius. On behalf of the members of 95th PGA Championship Executive Committee and Oak Hill Country Club, I would like to welcome all of you to our facility today. Oak Hill Country Club is very much at home hosting golf's major championships.
Oak Hill is the only club in America to have hosted the U.S. Amateur, the U.S. Open, the senior U.S. Open, Senior PGA Championship, The Ryder Cup, and the PGA Championship. In fact, this will be the third time that Oak Hill will have hosted the PGA Championship making us one of only six other clubs in America that have hosted three or more PGA championships. Our entire community has been preparing for what will certainly be a very special week this August.
Our staff and members here at Oak Hill have dedicated countless hours over the course of several years towards the preparation to host the 2013 PGA Championship. And while it requires a tremendous amount of hard work to organize and prepare for an event of this magnitude, we welcome and enjoy the challenge.
We look forward to welcoming golf fans from around the world to our beloved Oak Hill, and come this August we will be ready, and I hope to see you all here. Thank you very much.
JULIUS MASON: Now welcome Gavin Landry, director of tourism for New York State.
GAVIN LANDRY: Thank you, Julius. As in golf and news conferences, pace of play is important and I'll keep MY remarks brief.
On behalf of Governor Andrew Cuomo, it's my pleasure to welcome PGA of America and defending champion, Rory McIlroy, to the Empire State. Governor Cuomo apologizes for being unable to attend today but he is overseeing the final weeks of legislation in Albany.
We are confident that this is a wonderful facility, and we are also going to brag about the state. New York will be perfect for hosting the PGA Championship, because after this event in 2013 we will have hosted it more times than any other state over the last 97 years; 12 times.
The PGA Championship is one of the largest sporting events in the world and will bring tremendous economic and community benefit. As the state's Director of Tourism, I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase all that New York has to offer to a worldwide audience of spectators and viewers.
New York State is proud to be working with The PGA of America on an innovative partnership that will promote and expand New York's iconic brand around the globe. The I Love New York will appear on all 3,800 volunteer uniforms, a first for the PGA Championship.
And keeping with the mission of The PGA of America's goals, we will feature the rich golfing landscape that includes over 800 golf courses statewide.
Finally we are especially excited to offer the Taste New York experience here at the PGA Championship. On the grounds at Oak Hill Country Club during the 2013 championship, will have two tents at the main spectators entrances that will provide both concessions and samples of the best in New York's bounty of wine, beer, produce, cheeses, yogurt and more, all made in this proud and great State of New York.
So again, we can't wait to welcome the golfing world here to New York in August and thank you very much.
JULIUS MASON: Now, ladies and gentlemen, you know the next person I am about to bring up, Ryan Cannon, a resident in your backyard for nearly two years how.
RYAN CANNON: Welcome again, Rory. It truly is great to have you here, and thank you for working us into your schedule to be with us today and we are all looking forward to hearing your thoughts. It has been a great experience for my family to live and work in this community for nearly two years now.
Having had the chance to live here, I can tell you that I have come to realize that Oak Hill Country Club and the county, City of Rochester, the town of Pittsford and the great State of New York represent a community that my family and I have been fortunate to become a part of. The quality of life is fantastic. The people around town, the members of this club, have been wonderful. The locally produced food is world class and I've had plenty of it.
The abundance of outdoor active ties are second to none. Speaking from a professional standpoint, though, I don't think it's any secret that the Empire State has some of the greatest golf fans in the world.
We are also fortunate to be in close proximity to even more of the greatest golf fans in the world, our Canadian neighbors right across the boarder in southern Ontario. You can find evidence of support of some of the major milestones at this particular PGA Championship. For example, volunteer recruitment of over 3,700 volunteers was completed nearly four months in advance of the championship. Many of our volunteers are from New York, but actually we have volunteers coming from 38 different states and eight different countries.
On the ticketed spectator side, nearly 70 percent of our ticketed spectators will come from New York, but we also have spectators coming from all 50 states and 47 different countries. We have 12 different Community Relations Programs that will impact well over a hundred different charities in a variety of lasting and meaningful ways and a lot of those charities are right here in the Finger Lakes region.
Finally as you heard earlier, we have partnered with New York State in an innovative way in order to promote travel and tourism, as well as well New York made products to a worldwide audience. I think we are all in awe of the support and collaboration we have with the community.
But I am primarily here today to let you know that you can tell your viewers readers and listeners that Friday, Saturday, Sunday tickets are sold out and that there are a limited number of tickets available. Also, remaining tickets are at affordable prices, however, I would advise you to tell your audience to not wait any longer. The time is now when Oak Hill Country Club, Monroe County, the City of Rochester, the Town of Pittsford and the Empire State, decide to host a PGA Championship, that it's a major championship experience that you're not going to want to miss.
For more information on the PGA Championship or to purchase tickets, you can go our website, www.pgachampionship.com. I look forward to seeing you back here at Oak Hill Country Club here in August for the 95th PGA Championship.
JULIUS MASON: Now let's hear from a long time friend of The PGA of America, the executive vice president of programming for CBS Sports, Mr. Rob Correa.
ROB CORREA: Thank you, Julius. This year's PGA will be our 23rd consecutive year at CBS televising the PGA Championship and we are honored to be in the second year of an eight year deal, so we are going to be here for a long time.
We have had an incredible relationship with The PGA of America, and Pete and Ted, Kevin Carter, it's just a terrific team and we couldn't be more thrilled to be working with them. For the last 22 years we have also been partnering with Turner, who has been a fabulous parter, as well. We started with John Daly in '91, we have seen a lot of Tiger obviously, a lot of Phil, Davis Love, Rich Beem dancing, a little uncomfortable, an incredible final round at Valhalla, Keegan's come back and of course Rory's domination last year and Shaun Micheel's famous 7 iron in 2003.
So it's been one incredible run and we are looking for more incredible things in the future. Almost 22 million people watched the championship on Saturday and Sunday; that's a lot of people. Great for the sport, and we are looking for an even bigger audience this year. Our basic schedule is highlights 12:30, 7:00 Thursday, Friday nights, and we are on the air at two o'clock on Saturday and Sunday.
Our CBS announce team, which clearly I have to write down because there are like 18 announcers: Verne Lundquist, Bill Macatee, David Feherty, Gary McCord, Peter Kostis, Ian Baker Finch, Peter Oosterhuis and anchoring 18, Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo. We take a lot of pride at CBS in our golf, obviously one of our major sports, and we couldn't have a better announce team. We are thrilled to be here in August. Thank you very much.
JULIUS MASON: Also, ladies and gentlemen, from New York City, from our digital and media partner, Turner Sports, president of sales, distribution and sports, please welcome David Levy.
DAVID LEVY: On behalf of my colleagues at Turner Broadcasting, pleased to be here at Oak Hill; although I wrote that note prior to playing today, and after playing, I'm not sure I was pleased to be here.Look forward once again to working with our partners at PGA of America and our partners at CBS to present the 95th PGA Championship. This year marks the 23rd consecutive year that Turner Sports will televise the PGA Championship, and the 16th year it will be televised on TNT.
We look forward to providing fans in depth analysis and coverage of the final major of the 2013 season, and once again we will offer comprehensive multi screen experiences. Turner Sports will provide golf fans numerous options to access content, information and live coverage of this great event, whether it's at home on TNT or at the office on PGA.COM or on the go mobile devices.
We will cover approximately 20 hours of live action throughout the four days, exclusive coverage on Thursday and Friday from 1 PM to 7 PM, as well as morning coverage on Saturday and Sunday, 11 AM to 2 PM before we happened it over to our partners at CBS.
Our incredibly experienced on air team that Rob just mentioned, but also Ernie Johnson, Ian Baker Finch and Billy Kratzert will do most of the coverage on TNT.
In addition to our television coverage, Turner Sports also operates PGA.com, which has created incredible energy to a television product on TNT and the multi viewing experience that we offer all golf fans across the world.
As part of our expansive coverage, PGA Championship Live will offer live multi live video streams on and the ability to follow marquee groups on all the par 3 coverage.
In addition, the PGA Championship app will offer live video, news, highlights and scoring updates by allowing fans to customize their experience and receive notification when their favorite golfers are playing.
As most of you are aware, the PGA Championship winner earns a spot at the exclusive Grand Slam of Golf, which is so many prized of the four major championship winners of the year. Once again we will cover the Grand Slam of Golf at Port Royal Golf & Country Club in Bermuda October 15 and 16. Thanks again, and we look forward to being back here in August for the 2013 PGA Championship.
JULIUS MASON: Thank you very much, David. Check this out, somebody not from New York, from Franklin, Indiana and the Legends Golf Club, the 38th president of The PGA of America, Mr. Ted Bishop.
TED BISHOP: You know, the term of a PGA president is two years. And I have to be honest with you, I think every PGA president, when you get elected, you look at what your PGA Championship sites are going to be, and you know, when I looked at what my two were going to be, and I could see that my 2013 venue was going to be Oak Hill, I thought, wow, how special is this going to be and how fortunate am I going to be to be in what I would classify from an American standpoint, golf royalty.
The history and the tradition of this place is unbelievable, and for us to be able to bring a PGA Championship back here for the third time is incredible. You know, this is a golf course that is truly timeless, and it creates tremendous memories every time that there is a championship held here, and I can't tell you, on behalf of all of the men and women of The PGA of America, how privileged and honored we are to be back here again at Oak Hill, which is truly a place that feels like home for The PGA of America.
And you know, I'd be remiss if I didn't give a special shout out to Craig Harmon, who has been a PGA professional here for 41 years. And PGA professionals, many have had longevity, very few have been as loved as long as Craig has been here at Oak Hill, and when you talk about golf royalty in this country, certainly, the Harmon family is it. I'd like to acknowledge Craig Harmon (applause).
Again, another secret of PGA officers, we are not supposed to root for anybody at the PGA Championship, because we have friends that encompass all the players. But when I saw that Rory McIlroy was going to be in a position to win last year's PGA Championship, I really wanted to see him bring the Wanamaker Trophy home, because selfishly, I wanted this guy as my first PGA Champion as president, because I can't think of anybody in this day and age from a professional athlete that typifies what we need in golf right now, and I am just so proud that he is our defending champion.
I've had a chance to play golf with Rory at the Grand Slam, I guess a couple years ago, or last year I guess it would have been, and I had a chance to play with him again today and we'll talk a little about that later on. I think he found the golf course to his liking for sure.
The PGA Championship for those that may not know is by far the toughest field among all four Majors. Last year we had 99 of the Top 100 players who were in the field. We had a group of players that represented 21 different countries, which is more than any of the other four major championships have, which I think, I don't need to tell you people at Oak Hill how special the PGA Championship is among the four Majors and how strong the field is.
The other thing that makes this tournament unique is the fact that there will be 20 club professionals who will qualify for this tournament by virtue of their finish at the PGA Professional National Championship that we'll have later this month at Sunriver, Oregon. And that will be a tremendous honor and a big deal to those guys, and I know that everybody here will make them certainly feel very, very welcome.
You know, as Rory and I were sitting here watching the video, I said, you know, the really cool thing about this is that you are etched in that video for the rest of time. And he is.
As you know, our depending champion rallied on Sunday last year at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island. He really left an imprint on this championship. He staged one of the most I am probable come backs ever and really lapped the field when the final round was over with. So for those of you that have difficulty remembering the details of his victory last August, here is a little reminder.
TED BISHOP: Before we meet our champion, his caddie, JP and his father, Gerry, you guys were a big part of that championship and thank you for being here. Without any further ado, please welcome our defending PGA Champion, Rory McIlroy.
JULIUS MASON: Thank you for joining us today, and thank you to allow us to celebrate your fantastic 2012 season where you won five times around the world, you were the PGA Player of the Year, you were the Vardon Trophy winner, blah, blah, blah, you were just about everything. Before we talk about your current state of the game, can we revisit Kiawah Island for just a second?
RORY McILROY: Yes.
JULIUS MASON: Yes, very good. You arrived at Monday on Kiawah Island, correct, and you had never seen this property before?
RORY McILROY: No, never seen it. I remember a little from The Ryder Cup there in '91, but I didn't really have much of an idea about the golf course.
JULIUS MASON: We said earlier before you came in that you were feeling good about the week, also; is that correct?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I had a good week before at the Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio and it was my best finish for a while, having struggled with my game. But I felt like things were turning around and had a good feel going into Kiawah.
JULIUS MASON: Practice rounds; did you play golf on Monday?
RORY McILROY: Nope.
JULIUS MASON: How many holes did you play on Tuesday?
RORY McILROY: Nine.
JULIUS MASON: How many holes did you play on Wednesday?
RORY McILROY: Nine.
JULIUS MASON: At what particular point did you feel you were feeling pretty good about your chances of winning the PGA Championship?
RORY McILROY: The thing is the weather wasn't too good on Wednesday, I think it was. I wanted to get out early and get in before the storm came, so I played the front nine on Tuesday, and I went out there, like 7:30 in the morning on Wednesday and got eaten alive, there were so many intersects. We got on by 9:30, 10:00, felt like we were ready, my game was there, I got to see the golf course.
And I guess the good thing is if you've seen the golf course once, you don't really know where the trouble is. When you know where the hazards are and stuff, you're not paying so much attention to them.
Sometimes I think you can go into too much detail when you're trying to see a golf course, and all you're thinking about then is the trouble and where not to hit it instead of where you want to hit the ball.
JULIUS MASON: You mentioned weather; it was an interesting week, we saw rain delays and high winds. And in the third round, a really weird thing happened that our friend, Rob Correa, shared with us not too long ago.
(Video played of Rory's tee shot into a tree, Round 3 at Kiawah, 3rd hole).
JULIUS MASON: All right, so in competition, is that the weirdest thing that's ever happened to you, the strangest thing that's ever happened to you?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, for sure. JP told me I hit it in the tree didn't you? Hit it at the tree and you'll be fine? Yeah, it was a big par for me. Obviously I got off to a great start. I birdied the first two holes, and the third is a birdie hole, as well. You're thinking, you didn't want to make bogey there and to get up and down and make par was big. It kept the momentum in the round, even though it was still early.
JULIUS MASON: Ted mentioned the strength of field earlier. Were you aware that 99 of the Top 100 World Ranked players were competing that week?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, that's what the PGA Championship is about. They give an exemption to the top 100 players in the world and it is the strongest field in golf. I think everyone knows that. And it's great to be able to come out on top in a field like that.
JULIUS MASON: How come caddies don't get enough love after players win major championships?
RORY McILROY: He's getting the love over there.
JULIUS MASON: Ladies and gentlemen, JP Fitzpatrick.Now, were you aware of your margin of victory, what that meant in the history of the PGA Championship?
RORY McILROY: I wish I could say that I knew the record was seven, and I was going for a win by eight, but I didn't know. I didn't have a clue. But I did say to JP again, on the 18th tee: "We won the U.S. Open by eight shots, let's win this by eight shots, too." I really wanted to birdie the last, and hit a great tee shot down there. Didn't hit a great second shot, but you know, held a nice putt.
JULIUS MASON: Another record that you have today is that this is the first PGA Championship Media Day in the history of our grand sport where a father has joined their son. And if we could ask Gerry to stand up and say hi and wave to everybody, Rory's dad. (Applause). Now, how cute was that?
RORY McILROY: I was cute back then (laughter).
JULIUS MASON: How old were you back then?
RORY McILROY: I wasn't even two, was I? 18 months?
JULIUS MASON: Is it true that your dad worked over a hundred hours, give or take, a week, to help develop you as a golfer?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, for a few years, yeah. My mum and dad worked tremendously hard for me; even to just give me the opportunity to have the chance to be sitting here today. If it wasn't for them, none of this would have been at all possible.
JULIUS MASON: Pretty cool to share these special moments and accomplishments with them?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, definitely. My dad's been at my major victories and hopefully will be there for many more.
JULIUS MASON: Jerry, promise you, you make everyone in this room want to be a better father, good job. (Laughter). Okay, how would you describe where your game is today?
RORY McILROY: Today it was all right (laughter).
JULIUS MASON: You looked a little frustrated last week.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, it's been a little bit of a frustrating year. It seems like every time that I've got a bit of momentum, I take two steps forward and then take one step back. But it's been I'm getting there. It's very close. It's one of these years where I'm waiting for one week where it all clicks together and then I can get on a run. I've had a couple of chances to win this year and I haven't taken them. I've had a few indifferent performances, as well.
I feel good going into the second major of the year obviously, and in a couple weeks Merion, and there's still a lot of golf to be played this year. I'm feeling pretty good.
JULIUS MASON: You spent some time with one of your coaches, Dave Stockton?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, Dave Stockton was at Memorial for a couple of days, trying to get me to hole some more putts. Yeah, the ball striking has not really been an issue this year. I've actually hit the ball pretty well from tee to green, and I've given myself a lot of opportunities, and especially at Charlotte and TPC, I gave myself a lot of chances but didn't take as many as I should have.
Yeah, if I keep hitting the ball the way I know I can and hole putts, I'll hopefully be in the winner's circle.
JULIUS MASON: You've just played Oak Hill's famed East Course designed in 1925 by Donald Ross, and this is true that this is your first trip, ever, to Rochester and the facility?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, first ever.
JULIUS MASON: Have you watched any videos of any special moments to help you?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I vaguely remember watching the 2003 PGA. As everyone knows, Shaun Micheel hit 7 iron into the last. I've seen little bits of the '95 Ryder Cup, as well, which was obviously a good week for Europe; one of many good weeks for Europe (laughter). Yeah, I didn't really know much about the course until today, but from what I saw, I really liked it.
JULIUS MASON: Give us your impressions of what you saw out there today; what do you think?
RORY McILROY: I love golf courses like this, big, mature trees, tree lined fairways. It's a typical, old style, but it's still it was obviously a fantastic golf course 50, 60 years ago, and it's a fantastic golf course now. It's not overly long by today's standards, but you have to drive the ball very, very well. It gives you opportunities to score, but then, I mean, you've got some holes coming in that are very tough, like the 15th here and obviously the last two holes are two of the toughest finishing holes that we'll see all year.
JULIUS MASON: You had a chance to play with Ted Bishop, the president of The PGA of America. Ted, would you mind popping up and giving some observations of the round, please?
TED BISHOP: Well, I think he shot 67 today, and he did leave some putts out there.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, for sure
TED BISHOP: But impressively, he made back to back twos on hole 14 and 15. So talk about your two on 14.
RORY McILROY: I like, there's a little stretch of the golf course, 12, 13, 14, which gives you an opportunity to score. 12 and 14 are obviously two par 4s that you can drive it up close to the green and take advantage of that. You can make a couple of birdies there, and 13, as well, which it's a great par 5. I think it's a good three shotter, but if you position your first two shots well, you've got a great chance of making birdie there, too.
But yeah, 14 and 15, I hit a good drive on 14, and I think I had 50 yards left to the pin and was able to chip that in. And 15 was playing tough today. 15 was straight back into the wind. I hit a 6 iron and held a nice putt. So a nice little stretch.
TED BISHOP: As Julius said, last year Rory, basically, you won everything, and he was kind of enough to stop by our PGA headquarters in March, and we gave him The PGA of America Player of the Year, we gave you the Vardon Trophy. I wasn't going to bring this up, but he brought The Ryder Cup up, so do you remember the other thing we gave you?
RORY McILROY: The clock? (Laughter).
TED BISHOP: Yeah, and for those that don't remember, the final round of The Ryder Cup, Rory made a fast and furious entrance to the first tee at Medinah. Yeah, I think everybody would really kind of find that story, even though it's not the PGA Championship but like I said, we are go to bring it up, because you brought up the European dominance of The Ryder Cup, but talk about that Sunday morning.
RORY McILROY: Apart from the night before (laughter). But I obviously wasn't paying enough attention in the team meeting, so whenever the tee times were read out, I obviously wasn't listening, which is sort of like me in school, as well.
I get back to the room after having dinner with the team and I turn on the Golf Channel, just watching or whatever and I see the tee times roll across the bottom of the screen and I see 12:39 or whatever it is, so, perfect, 12:39, have a little bit of a lie in, have a little bit of a chilled morning.
I get up; my girlfriend was in China, so I talked to her, you know, for whatever it was in the morning. And I got a couple of missed calls on my phone and I didn't recognize the number, so I was like, okay, I'll just leave it. Then I get a call from my manager saying, "Are you at the golf course? "
And I said, "No, I've got an hour and a half to tee off, I'm getting ready to go."
And he said: "No, no, you've got half an hour." And I go, "No, no, no, it's 12:35 or 12:39." And he goes, "No, you're 11:39. And I'm like, "Oh, no."
So luckily, there was a police car waiting for me down stairs. I took a quick shower, took my cell phone, left everything in the room. I didn't bring any of the jacket or tie or anything I needed for the closing ceremony, someone else was able to do that for me.
If it had not have been for that cop, I probably wouldn't have been there, because the traffic on the way to the course was tremendous; and we were driving up curbs, going up the wrong side of the road and all sorts of stuff.
Obviously I arrived to the golf course with 11 minutes to spare and just enough time to putt on my golf shoes and eat a breakfast bar and get to the first tee. Actually I think I hit a couple of chips and putts, as well.
But it wasn't I didn't want to be that guy to have to forfeit a match. And even I would have felt bad if I had lost, as well, because I didn't prepare properly. But I think I got there and I gave myself a chance to win, and I thought I was playing Keegan would was probably the best player for the U.S. that week. He played really good golf. I thought to myself, if I can just hang with him for six holes, stay all square, I might have a chance. At least my nerves will settle down and I'll be more relaxed, and I was able to close out the match.
TED BISHOP: I'll need to know where you're staying and your cell phone number, because that will be my job as PGA of America president is to make sure my defending champion doesn't miss his tee time.
JULIUS MASON: Thank you, Ted.
Rory, you also played with Craig Harmon, who as you know has been the head professional at Oak Hill since 1848 or something like that (laughter).
Craig, please come up, if you don't mind, and maybe begin by sharing some insight as to what does look different, what has changed at Oak Hill and maybe some observations on Rory's round today, as well, please.
CRAIG HARMON: First observation, are you still dating that tennis pro?
RORY McILROY: Yes.
CRAIG HARMON: Is she the No. 1 ranked player in the world?
RORY McILROY: She was. We are two former No. 1s. (Laughter).
CRAIG HARMON: And how do you see each other on these world tours?
RORY McILROY: Where did I see her last
CRAIG HARMON: You don't have to answer
RORY McILROY: We see enough of each other (laughter).
CRAIG HARMON: We were kind of reliving some stuff going down No. 1. Lee Trevino won here in 1968, average driving distance in the field was 246 yards; lee was 244 and Nicklaus led the field at 271. What a change has taken place since that time.
And really, when I think of Oak Hill, you think of all these long holes and basically they are driver, wedge, driver, 9 iron. Second hole, wedge, fourth hole, he hit it way out there, hit a rescue club to the green, next hole was a wedge and on and on and on. 8th hole, very long hole, like 295 to carry the bunkers on the last and his caddie said, it's no problem carrying that bunker on the left.
I was trying to reach the first bunker. One thing.
You wonder how Oak Hill can defend itself, and it has over the years. 6 under par was a winning score for Jack Nicklaus only ten human beings have broken par in all tournaments combined. We talked about some of the putting out there, going down the hill, you can't really tell which way it's going to break.
And he hit different putts, went this way, went that way. And the defense of the course is really the accuracy. You can't defend greatness. You can't defend talent and you can't defend the distance people hit. So very curious what will happen in a few months, and hopefully the course will be ready for these guys out there.
I asked him, you know, these young players, have you ever played Winged Foot; no, never played Winged Foot, or Cypress Point, has not seen Cypress Point. I get a kick out of now, he goes to Kiawah, plays 18 holes in a practice round and wins the tournament by eight shots. Shows you how good the field is and their caddies are; caddie probably played 54 holes at Kiawah. They walk the course and get all the information.
It's interesting, if you can parallel, I think that (inaudible) at Bethpage Black, he just came off the worst week of his life. Said, I'm not even going to and play a practice round, if I don't know where the trouble is, I won't be able to find it. And that's kind of your experience at Kiawah. I gave him one tip on No. 9, don't miss it right and he missed it right, thanks a lot.
But what do you think the winning score will be here?
RORY McILROY: I think if the course played the way it is now, I would see Jack Nicklaus's total of 6 under being broken. But if it plays firm and it plays fast and the rough is thick, something similar you have some chances out there. The par 5, the two short par 4s on the back nine; but then again, you've got a very tough finish.
So I think the real challenge here is taking your opportunities when they come along here, and limiting the damage if you do hit it in the trees or the rough. Yeah, something, mid somewhere between 4 and 8 under par.
CRAIG HARMON: I asked your dad if you had hair like that when you were a young man, and he said, absolutely, it was great
RORY McILROY: I'm going to be gray in a couple years, terrible.
CRAIG HARMON: Great being around you today, heard all you about you from other players and other people, and you exceeded all my expectations today.
JULIUS MASON: We are going to try to find out what a day in the life of Rory McIlroy looks like during major championship week, so when do you think you'll arrive in Rochester?
RORY McILROY: Sunday night.
JULIUS MASON: Will you stay in a hotel or rent a house?
RORY McILROY: Rent a house.
JULIUS MASON: Will you share with family or friends?
RORY McILROY: With family, my dad will be here, my coach Michael Bannon will be here, and probably one other, yeah.
JULIUS MASON: Will you stay home and cook or will you go out to eat?
RORY McILROY: Last year at Kiawah, we had a chef, which is nice. We stayed in. Might do the same thing this year.
JULIUS MASON: Convenient.
RORY McILROY: Convenient. It's nice, especially you have such long days at the golf course, just want to come home and get good food and relax.
JULIUS MASON: How many days a week will you work out at a gym?
RORY McILROY: Every day. I'll try and find a local gym nearby, so if anyone has any good suggestions I'm open to them. Yeah, I'll work out every day, and if I have a late tee time, I'll do sort of a warm up work out in the morning, and the days that I'm off early, I might do more of a session in the afternoon.
JULIUS MASON: Besides golf and working out what else will you do that week; will you read, watch TV?
RORY McILROY: If someone suggests a book to me I'll read it. I'll maybe get into a good TV series. But then, you know, in August, there's usually good I guess last year was the Olympics and stuff was on; there was always something on TV to watch. But I like whenever I get back, I quite like watching the highlights from the day's round just to see how other people play, and just always trying to learn something.
JULIUS MASON: So you were watching a lot of highlights of yourself last year.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I was, yeah. I was.
JULIUS MASON: Pretty fun?
RORY McILROY: When you're playing well, yeah. That's why they call it highlights (laughter).
JULIUS MASON: You ready for some rapid fire questions?
RORY McILROY: Yes.
JULIUS MASON: What's your favorites of course in the United States?
RORY McILROY: Augusta National.
JULIUS MASON: What's your favorite golf course outside of the United States?
RORY McILROY: St. Andrews.
JULIUS MASON: Do you have a tattoo?
RORY McILROY: No.
JULIUS MASON: What's your favorite hole in the U.S.?
RORY McILROY: 13th at Augusta National.
JULIUS MASON: How old were you and where did you break par for 18 holes for the first time?
RORY McILROY: Was it 11 or 12 at Holywood maybe. Where did I break par for the first time? I don't know, 11 or 12 at my home golf club.
JULIUS MASON: What's the best shot of your career?
RORY McILROY: Tenth hole at the U.S. Open on Sunday, Congressional.
JULIUS MASON: What's the one mulligan you would like to have?
RORY McILROY: Tee shot on the 10th at Augusta from 2011.
JULIUS MASON: Do you have any golf superstitions?
RORY McILROY: I used to use coins for ball markers. One of my parents gave me one, but apart from that.
JULIUS MASON: Your all time favorite movie?
RORY McILROY: Anchorman.
JULIUS MASON: What's your favorite non golf sporting event?
RORY McILROY: Wimbledon.
JULIUS MASON: Your favorite sport team.
RORY McILROY: Manchester United.
JULIUS MASON: Who is your favorite male athlete?
RORY McILROY: There's so many incredible athletes.
JULIUS MASON: Next one should be pretty easy for you. Who is your favorite female athlete?
RORY McILROY: Met Lindsey Vonn yesterday (laughter). Caroline Wozniacki.
JULIUS MASON: Say it again so everybody can hear, please.
RORY McILROY: Caroline Wozniacki.
JULIUS MASON: You are from Holywood, Northern Ireland near Belfast. How often do you go home?
RORY McILROY: I went home for a day a couple of weeks ago. First time I've been home in a year.
JULIUS MASON: What did you do?
RORY McILROY: Went to spin class with my friends at 6:45 in the morning and went to practice at nine o'clock and had some lunch at my parents house. Then I went to the gym again and then I went to take my parents out to dinner.
JULIUS MASON: You went out; you didn't have a chef cook at home?
RORY McILROY: No.
JULIUS MASON: You have 1.6 million followers on Twitter. Do you know that?
RORY McILROY: Yeah.
JULIUS MASON: It's a crazy number. Who is that next to you?
RORY McILROY: My girlfriend, Caroline. Favorite female athlete.
JULIUS MASON: Look at this, Caroline has a Twitter account. She may be able to beat you in tennis, but you are kill her in Twitter followers. She only had the 495,000. That's not bad compared to PGA of America's Ted Bishop who has 8 02. (Laughter).
This is a really nice picture of you and Caroline at Augusta. Did she have more fun than you had fun on that day?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, we both had a lot of fun. I think it was great, the first time she was at the Masters, and I just wanted her to experience the whole thing and it was a great day. We had a lot of fun out there. I played with Graeme McDowell and he had his fiancée, Kristin, caddie for him. So we all had a great time. Yeah, it was nice, good memories.
JULIUS MASON: You posted some other pictures on your account, how long ago was this? This is actually pretty good timing. We have a game coming up tonight
RORY McILROY: Tonight. Yeah, that was actually when they played the spurs in San Antonio. Chris Bosh made the three pointer at the buzzer.
JULIUS MASON: Where was this?
RORY McILROY: Dufnering, Houston. Dufnering worldwide.
JULIUS MASON: What do we have here?
RORY McILROY: That is a picture with the Boys & Girls Club of Tucson.
JULIUS MASON: Now, does that have a connection to your charity.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I started the Rory Foundation at the start of the year and this is the first initiative called the Six Flags Project, and I wanted to try to support a children's charity in every tournament that I played in a community for six tournaments of the year. So for Tucson we chose the Boys & Girls Club, which is obviously a great organization that helps so many kids throughout this country.
JULIUS MASON: Okay. You've got to explain this one.
RORY McILROY: That's the Sydney tower that's in Sydney. We are harnessed onto the rail there so we don't fall off.
JULIUS MASON: You're just walking around on talk, belted?
RORY McILROY: Belted in.
JULIUS MASON: Jumping off would have been a cool story.
RORY McILROY: It would of. (Laughter).
JULIUS MASON: I tried to figure this one out, and I have no idea what it is.
RORY McILROY: It's a new slide, I haven't been on it yet but Caroline did (laughter).
JULIUS MASON: Let's get back to the PGA Championship for a quick second, you are the defending champion which means you get the opportunity to select the meal at the traditional Champions Dinner. Here is a picture at the Kiawah Island champion's dinner which was hosted by Keegan Bradley.
RORY McILROY: Martin looks happy. Must have been a good meal. (Laughter).
JULIUS MASON: Can you give us a little behind the scenes on what the champions might be eating?
RORY McILROY: I sort of want to keep it simple and keep it something that everyone will like. I don't want to do something that half the table won't eat. Although I think I recommend like a drive thru McDonald's, all the silver Mercedes (laughter).
I don't know, I guess it will be either beef or chicken for the main course. I know some people are veg maybe a salad or something for an appetizer. And then I guess cheese or yogurt are big here, so some cheesecake for desert (laughter).
Q. A quick question about the U.S. Open, your last few opens, the contrast, you lapped the field at Congressional and missed the cut at Olympic; have you played Merion and how do you feel going in?
RORY McILROY: I'm going to go to Philly tonight and I'll play tomorrow and Wednesday just to get a good look at the course. I'm hoping that my sort of trend in the U.S. Open continues, because I've went miss cut, win, missed the cut, so hopefully I can win again.
As I said earlier, I feel like I'm playing pretty well. I need it all to click into place and one I do that, I'll be off and running. Yeah, all parts of my game are there. I just need to sort of put them all together for one week. I'm feeling good. I'm looking forward to seeing Merion. It will be the first time for anyone that's been there for a while. It will be new to a lot of the guys. So it's just about getting to know the course there and being as comfortable with it as you can.
Q. What do you know about this golf course?
RORY McILROY: To be honest, I didn't know much. I knew it was right on the border of Canada. Actually as we were flying in, we flew over Rochester, and it looks really, really nice with the river running through it. Hopefully I'll get to spend a little bit of time there during the week. I've seen video clips from the '95 Ryder Cup and the 2003 PGA. Apart from that, I didn't know much.
I like the golf course; when I think of the PGA Championship, I think of golf courses like this, big trees, tree lined, classic golf courses. This is one of them and it's something I'm really looking forward to getting back here in August and defend my title.
Q. Does it remind you of other golf courses you've played around the world?
RORY McILROY: It reminds me of Medinah a little bit where we played The Ryder Cup because of the trees and tree lined. Growing up watching the t PGA and seeing guys win at golf courses that are traditionally like this, old style golf courses; last year; Whistling Straits, Kiawah have been a little bit different. We play a few golf courses like this on TOUR, but this one, you stand on every hole and you think, this is a good golf hole. It's going to be a great test and I think everyone will enjoy the course.
Q. Have you been to Niagara Falls?
RORY McILROY: No, I hear it's not too far away, though. I won't get a chance to go this trip but I might take a little time to go and see it when I get back here in August.
Q. As the defending champion, is it more pressure, or is it more excitement?
RORY McILROY: I think it's a little bit of both. It's excitement because you're coming back to defend a trophy that you've had for a year. But it's excitement, too, because you get to host the Champions Dinner and you get to do a few cool things like that. I'm really looking forward to any time you can come back to defend a Major Championship is a great honor.
Q. Speaking of defending, big championship for us in August and so close to this championship, other than the strength of the field and the diversity of the golf courses, is there something else that you might be able to give some insight on why it's so hard to defend the PGA Championship? Other than Tiger, we have to go back to 1937 to find a back to back champion (Denny Shute 1936-37). Is it the time of the year or is there something that we don't know about?
RORY McILROY: I don't think so. I mean, the thing I love about the PGA Championship is the way they set up the golf course. It's not like the U.S. Open where it's just a grind for 72 holes. You can make birdies and you can shoot a score. Usually the winning total is somewhere between 8 and 12 under par, which is a good test and fair, but it's still difficult for the guys.
I don't know why people have struggled to defend. I guess it's the depth of the field; there's so many good players and so many of them have a chance to win. Tiger is obviously a little different, he's been the dominant player the last 16 years, so it's no surprise that he is the only guy that's done it. You know, coming here in August, he's obviously going to be a factor, too, but it would be nice to go alongside him and try and defend this trophy, too.
Q. Along the lines of Tiger, when there's a major, there's always the story you're someone that's supposed to be pushing Tiger. Do you feel that rivalry? Do you want to keep igniting that rivalry? Do you think Tiger's back and can we look forward to a Rory/Tiger duel in August?
RORY McILROY: I hope so. I don't think Tiger was ever gone. I mean, okay, he had a few struggles or whatever but he won four times this year. I've played with him quite a bit over the past 12 months and his game is there. He's playing very, very well. You know, we both sort of struggled last week at Memorial but that's just the way golf is, and you have weeks like that sometimes. You know, people always say about this rivalry, and I always answer, he's got 76 or 77 PGA TOUR wins; I have like six. He's got 14 majors, and I've got two. That's not much of a rivalry there.
I need to start winning a lot and regularly and win a few more Majors if I want to even try and call whatever this is a rivalry. I just want to go about my business, play well and try and win golf tournaments. I'll let other people decide what that is.
But at the minute, I'm just trying to concentrate on winning my next tournament, and my next tournament is in a couple week's time and that's what I want to try and do.
Q. Who is your favorite male athlete in the world?
RORY McILROY: See, I was going to say LeBron, but if I say LeBron, people will say but he is an incredible athlete. There was a fight in London a couple weeks ago, Kessler and Carl Froch, but I missed the cut. I guess Michael Phelps, that's incredible. There's so many great athletes, it's hard to just pick one.
Q. 13th hole, with the tee shot, will you be tempted to go for the tee shot going over the creek?
RORY McILROY: For sure, even if the tee is back, if you get the right wind we played it into the wind today but if that switches, I think a lot of the guys will try to get over that stream. I think it's 300 to get to the other side, so a few guys will get over that, and then it's another good shot. It's over 600 yards, so you need two really good shots to get it anywhere close to the green.
Yeah, if it plays the way I played today, you wouldn't see anyone doing it. But if you have the wind the other way and maybe if they move the tee up, it will be a great risk/reward par 5.
Q. In your mind, like 295, is that an easy carry for you without any wind?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I guess so, and it's going to be warmer much warmer, I hope, in August, than it is today, so the ball will go a little bit further, too. But if it's calm conditions and warm out, I'm pretty confident I can get over there.
Q. You mentioned about Whistling Straits and you were one putt away from getting into that playoff. How hard was that, not getting into the playoff, and did you take a lot of positives out of that?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I took a lot of positives out of that, and even at Hazeltine, I finished third there, as well. But at whistling, I was really in with a chance going into the back nine. I played well. I gave it a good go. I was actually talking about it last night with my dad and JP, I hit a shot into 17 on Sunday that just hung up on the hill on the right. If it had of just caught the slope it would have been close to the hole and made birdie there.
That was my first real time in contention at a major on a Sunday and it felt good. You know, had a good run of Majors after that, and yeah, I'm happy to see Martin win there in 2010. He played really well that year, and he deserved it. But it was nice to get my name on that trophy a couple of years after.
Q. Did you play it all the way back today on all the holes?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I played all the way back, even behind on some holes like 17, it took me way back. It was playing as long as we could.
Q. Where else did you birdie?
RORY McILROY: I birdied the fourth. I birdied the 12th and I birdied the 15th and eagled the 14th.
Q. A lot of tee shots, it looks like you've got to really work your golf ball, right or left, and it was very soft from all the rain they have had. Can you talk about how much more difficult it will be off the tee if this starts playing really hard and firm in August?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, for sure. There's a lot of doglegs and there's going to be a lot of times where if you don't work the ball one way or another, you're going to run out of fairway or you're going to run through the fairway.
Hat's going to be the real challenge come August, because if you keep your ball in the fairway here, you've got chances to score. But if you don't and you hit it into that rough, that big rough here, you're going to struggle to even get it to the greens, let alone control your ball to try to get it close to the pin.
So yeah, even holes like even holes like the second where it's just a 5 wood or a 3 iron off the tee, but the dogleg goes from left to right a little bit but the fairway is sloped right to left so you have to hit a cut in there to hold the fairway.
So there's a few holes out there like that. You just have to really think about what you're doing out there and not just stand up and hit driver.
Q. Last year before you won the PGA, in the summer you had a bit of a down stretch, as well. Can you compare or maybe contrast that against for lack of a better word, that slump last summer, to the struggle you're dealing with now? Is it a same or different aspect to your game?
RORY McILROY: It's different. I'm actually playing much better. I'm in a better place with my golf swing and my game. I wasn't showing any real signs of promise for a couple of months, sort of June, July last year, where this year, there's signs. I'll play a stretch of holes where it feels really, really good and I might have a couple bad ones.
But like I say, I'm definitely not too far away, where last year at this point, I feel like I didn't know if I would ever play good again. But it's just the way golf is. There's so many highs and lows, and you've just got to try to keep the lows as high as possible and just try to keep it on an even keel. But I'm feeling pretty good about my game, and I think when this all clicks into place one week, I should be off and running.
Q. We were talking about Majors and you playing well in Majors, a strange question to ask you at your age, but have you given thought about the legacy you might leave in the game?
RORY McILROY: You know, it's hard. All I know is today great players are defined by their major victories. You think of anyone in our era, Ernie Els, four Majors; Phil Mickelson, four Majors; Tiger, 14; Jack Nicklaus, 18.
Whenever you think about a golfer, of course you think about all their wins, but you think about the major championships that they have, and I guess I've got off to a good start winning two pretty early in my career and I just want to try to keep that going.
Majors are the most important to every golfer, and you get four chances a year at it, and I've been lucky enough to take one of those chances these past couple of years, and I've got three more chances this year to try to do the same thing. That's what I'm really concentrating on, and yeah, after last year, winning your first one is obviously still special, but backing that up the next season and winning the second one is just as special.
JULIUS MASON: Ladies and gentlemen, before we rush Rory off stage right to do a number of other assignments today, a hand for him, please.
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