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May 22, 2003

Graeme McDowell


Q. Very good start to the tournament?

GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I'm very pleased. Started off with a bogey on the second; it was early, windy and cold, not the easiest start in the world, a couple of long par 4s, but I did make birdie on 4. I was kind of off to a negative start but hung in there well, got back in the tournament, birdied 10 and 11. Played good coming in, birdied 15 and eagled 17. Didn't birdie the last but all in all, happy with 68.

Q. How did the eagle come around?

GRAEME McDOWELL: I hit 3-wood from the tee. I had like 260 to the flag. I had my utility 2-iron rescue. It's kind of a blind second. I just hit a really good shot right down the lane and it was about five feet. Pretty pleased with that.

It's a rescue, a 2-iron, one of these utility-type woods. I pitched it 230.

Q. How has your life changed, do you get loads of invites now?

GRAEME McDOWELL: As far as all over the world you mean?

Q. Yes.

GRAEME McDOWELL: I don't think I'm into that realm of every tournament is available to me in the world. For sure, winning as I did, it made a big difference to me in regards to Tour School and all that kind of stuff. I have a good company advising me where to play in the world and how much to play and they have been looking after me in that regard. I started off in the U.S. and I see myself playing a lot more events in the future. As of now I feel I have a lot of learning to do but I'm happy concentrating in Europe for the next four or five months.

Q. Have you given yourself a thank you present?

GRAEME McDOWELL: After my win I bought a house in Port Rush where I've lived all my life. I guess that's the only present so far. I didn't play great towards the end of last year and gave myself a bit of a kick in the butt in the off-season and I am obviously trying to find my game and get that level of consistency back in my game that I had last year when I was in college, but I felt I lost that consistency towards the end of the year and that was hard to get that back.

Q. As far as last week was concerned, did you have a chance --

GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I was pleased with last week. It was a bit of reward for my hard work, I feel. I had been feeling that week coming for a month, I had been playing well. I was just throwing in that one round a week that was keeping me out of contention. I had a good chance at The Belfry but missed by a few there. I had a really solid week last week. My putting inside ten feet was a major factor last week and at the end of the day that's the difference between a good score and bad score. Obviously gave myself a lot of confidence and belief in myself again. It's good timing, the next of couple months, I can try to build off of that.

It's nice to get a bit of money on the board as far as the Order of Merit goes. I try not to look at these things too much. I just play week by week and things like exemptions for majors and stuff hopefully will take care of themselves. Obviously that's a major goal for me and trying to get myself into that category where I can play in the good tournaments. It's just trying to get that level of consistency back every week.

Hopefully these big events will take care of themselves, really.

Q. What is it about these big events that brings out the best in you?

GRAEME McDOWELL: I feel like last week, it had a good buzz to it with Tiger being around, and great golf, great golf course setups. These tournaments really inspire a player; they feel like a real tournament. Not to say some tournaments that are not well attended are not real tournaments but I feel like I play well when I'm inspired by the crowds, getting great reactions and lots of great people enjoying the game. I feel I enjoy it more that way, as well. I guess it affects my game nicely. It's a good thing to be a big-week player. I feel that I am one just because of the atmosphere and the enjoyment factor of it.

Q. What was the experience playing in the last group on Sunday?

GRAEME McDOWELL: Obviously, being in the limelight for a while, I was pretty nervous on Sunday. Hadn't felt like that in a long time. I felt like it was going to be a big day for me. I needed to get it under my belt. Got off to a pretty negative start on Sunday and played the way I was feeling all morning. Felt on edge and played a bit on edge, kind of in between yardages all morning and never really got going. I remember on 13 I had a good yardage and all of a sudden I had a really aggressive 9-iron out of the way. I had a good up-and-down on 12, good shot on 13 and made the putt and that kind of freaked me out. I played really good coming in but I just wasn't in an aggressive mood the first 11, 12 holes and that had a lot to do with me being on edge a little bit.

I feel like being in contention, being under pressure is something that you get used to. If you are in contention a lot, it gets easier. Sunday certainly wasn't easy for me. I was glad, obviously 69, I moved back a few spots but I was pretty happy with my play on the back nine especially.

Q. Do you consider yourself an aggressive player?

GRAEME McDOWELL: I don't try to be aggressive, but when I'm playing well, I'm thinking aggressively. I don't plan my -- I don't plan to play the course aggressively, but whenever things are good and you get good numbers and you are picturing good shots, I feel like I'm a player that makes a lot of birdies.

Q. Do you model yourself after any player at all?

GRAEME McDOWELL: I think golf is one of these games where everybody is different. I have role models but I don't try to model my game after anybody. You look at the best player in the world, obviously golf swings and everything is so different. I feel like I have a pretty good golf swing as well. I wouldn't say I try to hold myself to one person and just try to be my own person, and that's the way golf is, really.

Q. Do you have regular sessions with a psychologist?

GRAEME McDOWELL: No. I've tried it. I don't like it. I don't know if it's the one-to-one thing with a psychologist. I've read a lot of books, probably Bob Rotella's books are as good as there is out there. The good thing about that is you can sift through them, get out of it what you like and something you don't like you can just leave it. It's different if someone is there in your face telling you something. I find that hard to be selective at that point. If you're reading a book and you see something you don't like, you can just flick past it. In that regard I'm not really interested in one-on-one sessions with a psychologist. I feel that I can get all of the knowledge I need from those books.

Q. So you don't like any of those phrases about "one shot at a time"; you think that all that's nonsense, do you?

GRAEME McDOWELL: No. As I say, I've read Rotella's books and certainly, "staying in the present," the same as "one shot at a time," is one of my big mottoes. I've said it to myself maybe 30 times in a round. It's one of my big mottoes, as such. Yeah, there's a lot of basic principles that I've taken from his books and put in practice every day on the golf course. Some of them I do naturally now and others, like that one, I have to keep repeating to myself all the time because it's so easy to get ahead of yourself.

Q. How has playing in America prepared you; is that the sort of thing that you have in America, the psychologists?

GRAEME McDOWELL: Absolutely. I think being in America and rubbing shoulders with American people, they are probably the most confident people in the world. They are the best at everything. I think instinctively, I kind of -- my own confidence increased playing golf out there for a few years. My American team-mates who were not necessarily as talented as I was, thought they could beat the hell out of me every time. That kind of confidence, that kind of psyche that American players have, it stood me in good stead. Obviously, learning how to win was a big thing out there. To win nine times in three years and six times my last year, I felt when I was in the lead in Sweden, it felt like a natural place for me to be. I feel like that was one of the reasons why I won that week. I certainly had got used winning and got used to being in the lead.

Q. Paul Casey was saying the difference between being in university and over there, hitting the ball, going to find it and hit it, that doesn't work here?

GRAEME McDOWELL: There's so much more character to the golf courses we play in Europe. The good thing is I had a links background to fall back on when I came here. It's very easy to become a one-dimensional player, rip it, find it, get a perfect yardage, hit it high in there, stop, spin, hit the putt and go on. Here, you have the wind, different countries of the world, just completely different golf courses, environments. It certainly makes -- I feel like players in Europe are a lot more rounded individuals, really, just because of the Tour we play.

Q. Has some of the confidence that you came with from America, has some of that now been diluted as you've realised the standard of play that you've enjoyed?

GRAEME McDOWELL: To a certain extent. I feel deep inside that I feel I'm a better player than I was this time last year. Obviously, as I say, to liken the position I was in on Sunday, I'm not going to be as used to that as I was this time last year. It's something that I can definitely learn how to do again.

As I say, I feel that my shot-making skills have increased. I feel that my skills in general have increased in general since last year. I'm fitter than I was last year. I am more used to Tour life. I need to get that instinct back that I had at the time last year that. Comes from being in the mix as much as possible. Definitely the form that I'm in right now, I feel that I can do that very quickly again.

End of FastScripts....

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