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For all that, the kid is almost too good and too young to know what a drought feels like.
"I just realized that you just got to keep working hard. ... that it doesn't come easy to you all the time," he said. "It hasn't been the greatest run over the last sort of six weeks or whatever it is. But as I said, I still see enough good stuff in the rounds that it does give me hope it's not very far away."
Most everything else McIlroy said over the next few minutes was how hard Olympic had been set up. "It's just such a demanding golf course and just punishes the slightest shot that's off line, or that's maybe not the right distance, or whatever, and that's how I feel."
To his credit, he also cut himself off just short of an extended whine.
"It's been set up tough," he said quietly, "but it still gives you opportunities."
A reporter asked McIlroy whether he would play the Irish Open in two weeks.
"Yeah, that's the plan," he replied. "Just go back home and start playing some links golf and get ready for those couple weeks."
With that, McIlroy excused himself and headed for the exit with a much better idea of how much dedication it's going to take to be just half as good as Woods was -- and still is -- year in and year out, all the while dealing with the smothering attention that, good week or bad, never goes away.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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