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October 14, 2014

Graeme McDowell


GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Happy to be back in London where this tournament belongs.テつ Excited about my defence.テつ Nice to not have to switch gears from my couple weeks off from my match play frame of mind.
I was able to keep the match play sort of switch flicked the last couple weeks, and look forward to coming into this week and continuing hopefully where I left off at Gleneagles and win a couple matches and get myself into the nitty‑gritty over the weekend.

Q.テつ Obviously being part of a victorious Ryder Cup Team and winning this title last year, is there a particular way of getting into a successful match‑play mind zone to win in this format?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ As an amateur, I was a good match player, always was.テつ Played a lot of match play.テつ I felled like growing up in Ireland, a lot of amateur events were match play oriented, maybe too much.
So when I turned pro you get into the stroke‑play mind‑set and you lose the ability to play match play, if you like.テつ I suppose in my early days I didn't get enough match play experience as a professional and you get into your first World Match Play, I had a few early bats and never got off to good runs.
The last couple years, going back to when I get beat in the final here of this event by Colsaerts, it was from then I think really started to kind of get my sort of feet back under me from a match‑play point of view.
Had a couple good runs out at Tucson at the Accenture World Match Play, and I feel like winning some singles matches at The Ryder Cups and bits and pieces, I've got my match play instincts back again and there's no doubt, you have to get your mind‑set right.
It really is playing the man with a slight eye on playing the golf course, as well, reacting.テつ He hits it close, you have to follow him in.テつ Short game is a great equaliser.テつ Short game and putting, there's no surprises when you see guys like Ian Poulter being a great match player.テつ What makes him a great match player, he's a great putter and holing putts from outside of your opponent is the great equaliser in match play.
I think the fact that my putting has been a strength over the years is definitely one of the key things to winning matches.テつ Just hitting shots when you have to and reacting when you have to, and it's just a different mind‑set.テつ Looking forward to hopefully defending well this week.

Q.テつ How are the energy levels coming into this week, and also what are the main goals for the rest of the season?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Energy levels feel pretty good to be honest with you.テつ I guess I haven't played a lot of golf since the FedEx really.テつ I kind of hung my hat on my preparation for The Ryder Cup and ended up giving Wales a miss.テつ Thankfully it worked out.テつ I felt fresh and ready for The Ryder Cup and performed reasonably well.
You know, coming here feeling appreciate and actually excited to play golf this week, which is cool.テつ I'll play both events in China and then obviously The Race to Dubai.テつ So the goals are to try and get as far as I can this week and try and put some money on the board, and then go to China, obviously trying to chase my way into the top‑‑ I say the top five Race to Dubai.
I think the lad out in front is going to be pretty hard to catch at this point.テつ I'm just trying to get as far up the bonus pool rankings as I possibly can to give myself something to shoot at when I go to Dubai.テつ So that's the goal.
I enjoy this stretch of events.テつ I like the two China events.テつ Like I say, Dubai, not really being kind of one of my favorite tracks, I really need to be going in there with something sort of realistic and tangible that week to keep me sort of ready and prepared to go there.
So just trying to finish strong and nearly one eye‑‑ it's funny, it's only sort of the start of October but we're already looking to next season and how we are going to prepare.テつ I'm already starting to put my preparations together for getting ready for 2015 physically and trying to ‑‑ genuinely starting my preparation this week for next year.

Q.テつ How long does it take to get the Ryder Cup out of your system, the euphoria?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ It took me probably the best part of a week and a half.テつ Got my first kind of bout of a head cold/flu when I came home from The Ryder Cup.テつ It's amazing, first time I've been ill in any shape or form this year.テつ You're coming off the high emotionally, physically and mentally of The Ryder Cup.
There's a come down, there's no doubt about it, and like I say, I was feeling a little bit under the weather for four or five days, and you know, that's just part of it.テつ Really sometimes when you have so much adrenaline flying through your system, you've got to come off that and sometimes your body is sort of a little susceptible to getting ill.
Definitely took me a week and a half or, so but like I say, come here this week, excited to finish the season strong.テつ It was nice to reflect and it was really nice to get away from the game I suppose for a couple weeks.テつ I didn't envy the guys at the Dunhill Links.テつ Although it is one of my favourite events of the season.テつ I certainly didn't envy the guys being there and trying to play golf after what is such an exciting week at The Ryder Cup.
I've got to be honest, I didn't watch much of the media fallout after the whole Mickelson Watson affair.テつ I didn't see much of it.テつ I didn't really keep up with it.
I think there's positive and negative connotations there.テつ I think the negative being, you know, that maybe it takes too much emphasis off the European victory and a little bit more on the U.S. failure.
And I think the positive being their renewed effort to win The Ryder Cup, and that can only be very, very good for the tournament, hopefully in the short term and up the excitement level.テつ It just means two years' time is going to be fairly epic.テつ I just want to be there for sure.

Q.テつ With the anniversary of the tournament, looking for new title sponsors, could you put on a show this week‑‑ just to put it firmly back in the window‑‑
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Very much so and I believe this is a step in the right direction this week.テつ Coming back to London, we were potentially going to have seven Ryder Cup players this week.テつ Obviously Thomas has pulled out so we have six, with a little bit of a glimmer of an exciting invitation with Patrick Reed being here.テつ I think it has the right dynamic of a strong field.
Yes, we are missing a few headliners like the Rorys and the Westwoods and whatever, the top, top real echelon of the game.テつ But it's a very solid field, let's be honest and like you say, put a show on, hopefully the sun shines and we get a good crowd and quality lineup Saturday and Sunday to showcase.
When you look at the trophy and the names on it, this tournament deserves a great spot in the calendar.テつ It deserves a quality venue like this one this week.テつ It's a phenomenal purse.テつ Volvo have done a phenomenal job for this tournament and like you say, leaving a title sponsor, we don't want to be losing this event.
This event need to be reinstated to its former glory and we'll do everything we can to support that.テつ And like I say, huge thanks for Volvo for everything that they have done.テつ They have kept this tournament alive the last three or four years and great to be back in London.

Q.テつ You touched on the fallout from The Ryder Cup.テつ What is your take on what happened between Mickelson and Watson?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Very‑‑ I don't know.テつ I don't know.テつ I feel like there's a lot of emphasis put on the winning and losing captains:テつ The winning captain being some kind of genius and the magical formula; and the losing captain being the villain; you know, what did he do wrong.
There's always a lot of sort of microscopic sort of research as to what went right, what went wrong.テつ In this instance, the players have called Watson out, and that sort of begs the question, what really went on behind the scenes.テつ
I did read the one ESPN article from Bob Harig when there were a couple of anonymous comments about what happened on the Saturday evening and the players had given Watson had a present that he said meant nothing to them if he didn't win the next day and all that stuff.テつ You know, I mean, it kind of‑‑ it begs the question.テつ You know, it's like what makes a great leader.
Major championships don't make a great leader.テつ We kind of know that now.テつ Paul McGinley has kind of proven that.テつ Leadership qualities are very hard to kind of define, and I think what ‑‑ I was so impressed by Paul.
I can only speak for what happened inside our team room that week and Paul was so intelligent and schooled and intent on delivering a message that was premeditated.
I really felt that there wasn't much reaction from Paul that week.テつ It was very proactive.テつ He knew what he was doing.テつ Thankfully things went our way so there wasn't having to be much reaction, and that Friday afternoon, Saturday afternoon, 3 1/2 to 2 1/2 in foursomes was huge.テつ We carried such great momentum and energy into the team room every evening.テつ The recipe was good and the execution was better.
From Watson's point of view, I have no idea what was going on in there and maybe he just is not that type of person that can have 12 guys and say the right things to those 12 individuals.テつ And whether there's some history between him and Mickelson, don't know.
There's kind of an unwritten rule, I don't call your captain out at a Ryder Cup, win loss or draw, you just don't.テつ But like I say, like I kind of alluded to earlier, I see the negative connotations to it, taking away from our victory, but I see the positive side that they will have to really have an in‑depth look at what they are doing wrong and try to bring together a recipe that connects‑‑ you've got The PGA of America and the PGA TOUR players and there has to be connection there.
When we come back we play for The European Tour.テつ It's kind of like fitting back into the fraternity we grew up in and we play for each other and The European Tour.テつ Whereas the Americans, they need to have something that can sort of mold them all together that week I suppose.
It will be interesting.テつ Like I say, two years' time will be a telling one.テつ If we were to win that in two years' time, then that could be interesting.テつ But I think they will be seriously up for it.
And they have got a great core of young players now that I think are only going to get better with Patrick here this week and Rickie and Webb and Dustin and Bubba and these guys.テつ I think it's a great young core.テつ They have got kind of an older guard who are getting a bit burnt out by it all, Presidents Cups, Ryder Cups, year after year after year.テつ It's hard.テつ Be interesting.

Q.テつ Had you detected any tension in the American Team?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ No, I didn't detect anything during the week.テつ Captain Watson is one of my heros obviously.テつ Spent a bit of time with him.テつ Always found him incredibly intense and passionate about the game of golf.テつ Expected him to inspire the Americans.テつ I really did expect that.テつ And you know, surprised when it didn't happen.
You know, he seemed a little disconnected and aloof on the golf course when I did see him.テつ He didn't seem to be engaging with the players and seemed a little distant.テつ That's just my observation.テつ Whether that's true or false, I have no idea.テつ I'm just talking about the four or five times that I happened to see him or talk to him during the matches.
Yeah, I didn't detect it.テつ Only started to hear the murmurs when Mickelson and Bradley got left out on Saturday and the fact that Phil was begging to play.テつ I met up with‑‑ I saw Keegan last week and he did allude that it was a tough week and that him and Phil were very disappointed not to play Saturday.
So that was really the only sense that we got.テつ We genuinely didn't see them much, because it was hard.テつ And even the Wednesday night dinner when we did both get together, we spent so much‑‑ we were caught in traffic and didn't have a lot of time to speak and chew the fat, as it were.

Q.テつ You obviously want to play more, play all five matches but I assume win, lose or draw‑‑
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, I mean, I wanted to play Saturday morning.テつ I thought Victor and I had done enough Friday afternoon so we were going to get the call up Saturday morning.テつ Disappointed when we didn't get the pick to play.
And you know, Paul sort of in Ferguson fashion told me that he had a bigger plan for me than playing did a morning, and you know, I kind of remember hearing Ferguson dealing with his players the same way, if they were left out of the big game, it wasn't I'm benching you and that's the end of it.テつ It was, I'm benching you but it's because I've got a bigger plan for you.テつ There's a match next week and I want you ready for it.
McGinley did that with me.テつ He said I want you fresh for Saturday afternoon and you're going to lead the team off Sunday so I want you ready.テつ So I was like, definitely, okay, I understand.テつ I was disappointed but I understood.
And to me, that was just a little kind of insight into his man management and how to deal with players when you're benching them.テつ To be open with communication and let guys know that there's a big plan.テつ I'm very interested to catch up with Stevie‑G and just talk to him about his experiences that weekend and how McGinley handled him because I'm sure‑‑ be interesting to find out what his overall feeling was about The Ryder Cup.テつ He loses his two matches, we win; it's so hard.
It's a hard one, because he would sacrifice your own performance to a certain extent to win The Ryder Cup but only to a certain extent.テつ It's an interesting dynamic that whole week.
PAUL SYMES:テつ Many thanks.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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