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October 7, 2004

Graeme McDowell


SCOTT CROCKETT: Graeme, thanks very much for coming in. Fantastic effort. We spoke a few weeks ago in Germany after a 62 and you were delighted with that, but I presume this one is a little bit more special.

GRAEME McDOWELL: Obviously, the last round in Germany, it doesn't mean as much as this one; home of golf. It's just been a great morning. It's nice to open up the Dunhill Links with a career score, and equal my career low and stuff. Yeah, this means a lot more to me than in Germany.

SCOTT CROCKETT: You've already been asked about that putt on the last for a 61 and the lowest, it's hard to feel you're disappointed with a 62, but can you talk us through the last putt?

GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I was walking up to the green with my caddie, and I said to him, I saw this putt a million times on TV and I know exactly where it's going. But it turned more than I expected. It was a downhill quick left. It wasn't exactly one you want to leave yourself for a 61, but I had a great second shot in there and I gave the putt my best and didn't leave me that much of an effort at the end. 62 strokes out there today, I'm very, very happy with obviously.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Let's go through your birdies.

GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I hit it pretty close on the first two. Third, I made about a 25-, 30-footer on 3. I hit 9-iron.

The par 5, I hit driver, rescue just off the left in the left semi up by the green and pitched, made about a 6- or 7-footer.

6, I had a good second shot and left about 15 feet.

I hit a funny tee shot at the next. I probably hit the wrong club, I hit rescue and didn't quite get out in the fairway and it was stuck in one of those hills just short and I hit 5-iron in, 10, 15 feet and made that.

9, I drilled to the back edge and 2-putted.

11, I hit 5-iron to about eight feet behind the flag.

12, on the front of the green, two putts.

13, I hit rescue, 8-iron to about 15 feet.

The par 5, on the front edge of the green and two putts.

I had a nice see shot, 168. I was just trying to hit 7-iron just short right of the pin and executed it just perfect. It's always a tough day to try to finish your round -- inaudible -- I was really satisfied.

SCOTT CROCKETT: What was the putt on that?

GRAEME McDOWELL: It was a 15-footer.

Q. Were you in any of these famed bunkers?

GRAEME McDOWELL: I dodged all of the bunkers today, I believe which obviously Tiger Woods did very successfully in 2000. You have to play this golf course you have to stay away from the bunkers. They very penal.

Q. What was your mentality out there?

GRAEME McDOWELL: Sometimes you've got to forget about sort of about the correct side to come into a pin. No. 4 is a perfect example. The pin is tucked left on the side and the shot it hit as far left as you can, and give yourself a tough angle coming in, but you just have to do things like that. You can't take these bunkers on at all. You have to club yourself correctly out there.

I'm getting to know this course well. The last couple of years I've realized that this course does take a lot of getting to know. You have to work out where the best place to hit it is and where the percentage misses are. I thought I executed great shots. I could hardly think of one shot that I really didn't hit or do exactly what I wanted to do. Sometimes you ask for it at St. Andrews and sometimes you really have to place the ball in the correct spots and try and make some putts.

Q. What did you think of the Old Course the first time you played it?

GRAEME McDOWELL: I found it too tricky. I knew it's a golf course I'm going to get to like as I played it more. You know, obviously I'm going to be biased now, I'm going to like it for my own 62; kind of increases your enjoyment of a golf course.

As I say, the more and more you play, the more and more you start to learn the intricacies of the golf course. That's really what it is. The greens are so tricky and the bunkers are so placed that you really have to position the ball correctly, and again position it on the greens correctly and give yourself a chance obviously to 2-putt or give yourself a birdie chance in places.

Today,9 is playing short and 12 is playing very short and the par 5 coming in is playing pretty short, but you have to hang in there coming in through No. 2,3,4,5,6, a tricky little stretch and you can make big numbers in a heartbeat.

Q. When was the first time you played it?

GRAEME McDOWELL: Dunhill links two years ago.

Q. How many times did you play?

GRAEME McDOWELL: Practice round once. It's my fifth time. Fifth round of golf at St. Andrews.

Q. Is it your best?

GRAEME McDOWELL: I think I shot 2- or 3-under in the last round, or a threw a couple away coming in. So I knew I had a low one in me here, no doubt about that.

Q. Were you aware of the record?

GRAEME McDOWELL: I guess in my mind at some stage, I thought it could be for a score record or something but I thought it good not to know. I was really happy with my execution at last hole, good tee shot, good second shot and left myself -- just the putt was a little down little left-to-righter.

Q. Was it preferred lies in Germany?

GRAEME McDOWELL: Yes, it was, I guess my career low. The golf courses are obviously setup fairly easy anyway and it's actually running, it's surprisingly firm. I couldn't believe how firm the course was. The greens are not really all that bad.

Q. Was it breezy?

GRAEME McDOWELL: I felt the first nine holes played fairly tricky. About 9, we started to get the wind coming in. We had a tough -- I hit driver, rescue to No. 4. Didn't miss a tee shot and I had 245 to the flag. It's a tough pin position, and you just hit on the green and 2-putt. There's some tricky holes on that.

Q. Anyone helped you to play the Old Course?

GRAEME McDOWELL: I think it's just sheer -- sheer playing the golf course, you discover how to play it; and that's hit it as far left as you can going out and take your birdie chances and position it properly coming in.

Holes like 16, it takes two or three years to figure how to play them. Like No. 12 -- 13, sorry. You really have just got to work out where the best place is to come in, best angles to come in. There's three or four five different places and you have different tee shot in any cases and you have to work out what's best for you.

Q. Have you ever played it in bad weather?

GRAEME McDOWELL: I think it's been fairly benign the last couple of years when I played St. Andrews so obviously I haven't played it in mass wind and cold and rough up and stuff. So I can imagine this golf course can be brutal at the best of times.

Q. Did you play it as an amateur?

GRAEME McDOWELL: -- inaudible -- spending my time in America -- that was unfortunate for me, but it's great to be back out for the last time.

Q. Some people claim this course is redundant now � do you refute that?

GRAEME McDOWELL: I think when the rough is up, this golf course is as good as any. You can dodge the bunkers by taking the rough on.

I think when the rough gets up, this golf course is as good as any because you can't hit driver. You just can't hit driver. You've really got to position the ball correctly, as I keep saying.

I can't wait to see it set up for next year's Open. The greens are so big and tricky. You know, these old golf courses, these sort of historic golf courses, they are all about positioning the golf ball. Okay, they are short by modern standards, but as I say, the courses take driver out of your hand. They are so tricky on the greens that they can keep up as far as toughness with the best in the world. Obviously now, it's not setup to Open standard.

Q. Talk about how you played 17.

GRAEME McDOWELL: No. 17? Again, on the left-hand side, you can really go as far left as you want. The pin was well back and I wanted to fly it on to the green. When it gets windy, I like to do the low skip it, pitch it short and try to roll it on front half of the green and take your two putts and get out of there.

As far as the tee shot, it's pretty straightforward. You pick a line and hit it in the fairway to make your shot as easy possible. I really don't think the tee shot it what it's all about. It's obviously about the green. Today it was easy enough. When it gets windy, I like a little chaser up the right half of the green, anywhere on the front portion of the green. The pin, it was three quarters of the way around the green. Flag today? Tucked up around the bunker. I was trying to hit it in the front right middle half of the green and give myself a putt if I could.

Q. How far are you hitting your rescue club?

GRAEME McDOWELL: It's pretty strong. I'm probably pitching around 230 off the fairway, 235. It's acting as my 3-wood. I keep saying rescue, but it's actually, I'm using it as a 3-wood. It's about 12, 13 degrees and it's chasing a long way which is great for these course setups, using opposite tees. It's great when it gets really windy, I can keep it low and it runs a long way.

On 15, I left myself 8-iron, 170, so I was just trying to fly it by and let it release.

I've been using a rescue club as a 3-wood for a long time now. Kind of shopping and changing, but it's been my main -- I've struggled on and off for a couple of years with fairway woods, and I find it's a perfect replacement, it's 14, 13 degrees and as good as any 3-wood really.

Q. Do you have any sense that you shouldn't be -- have done what you've done on this course, in terms of your career and the number of times you've played it?

GRAEME McDOWELL: To be honest with you, at times I played like I was riding my luck in that I don't know the proper way to play this golf course. I made a couple early chances and felt like I took a couple of wrong lines off tees.

No. 4, Jeff hit it up the left-hand side and I hit it now up the short right-hand side, and we had a good time and I walked over and looked at his ball and I said, "This is the way to play the ball." I've hit it up the narrowest part of the fairway, and just so happens I made a great tee shot. But at times I realized I was making wrong decisions and I guess in a way I felt like, you know, 62, for a guy who probably doesn't quite know how to play this golf course properly -- you know, I feel like I need my luck in certain places, maybe two or three holes. I felt like I could have played proper golf shots but I haven't played the golf course in the most efficient way. I've got a little bit, and it's fantastic feeling to have done that to St. Andrews.

Q. Have you ever had a little course expert show you around??

GRAEME McDOWELL: I've never had an Old Course expert show me around. I've looked at my partner's caddie who I thought was an expert, but turns out he's a Kingsbarns caddie. I asked him on the first green, I asked, "Can I on your expertise on the greens?"

He's like, well, at Kingsbarns. I said, well, okay. So I felt like my caddie and I read the greens very well today anyway.

End of FastScripts.

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