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July 16, 2015

Graeme McDowell


Q. What's your reaction to the day?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, yeah, the scoring was there for the taking. Front nine early on there -- I feel like the wind has switched fractionally there. It was definitely helping a fraction more on the way out for us than it is right now. I think it's more across for guys. But no, I hit the ball lovely today, especially the first 12, 13 holes. I felt like I hit good putts and made nothing. It was kind of a case of what could have been, certainly that first nine holes. There was tons and tons of chances, tons of good putts that didn't go in, and birdied 10 and 11, tugged my tee shot on 12 trying to be aggressive on that left side there and kind of went up against the gorse and hit it over the back, hit a good chip and missed a short one there, found a couple bunkers, 13, 14, managed to scramble really well, but missed another short one on 16. So it was a case of what could have been on the greens today, but generally was fairly happy the way I hit the golf ball. All level par is a pretty average effort this morning. It certainly was there for the taking.

Q. Also tomorrow the wind is going to turn. It's going to be a more difficult scoring option for you. What do you think you need to do to be around for the weekend?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Tough to know right now. I mean, not really thinking about what cut lines and stuff are right now. I'm certainly just looking at what the leaders are doing and I'm trying to stay in touch going into the weekend, especially if it turns difficult tomorrow. It's not like a panic button shooting level par out there. Got to get out there tomorrow, get sharper on the greens and stay in the tournament. Obviously there's 5s and 6s out there this morning, but if it turns tough tomorrow, anything sort of 2-, 3-under par is going to be right there or thereabouts.

Q. How far are you away from getting your scoring boots on to make a 72 into a 68, the stuff that you're used to?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I'm getting there. I mean, it's starting to play better, obviously, but like you say, the scoring boots is probably a good way to describe it. I haven't quite discovered that sort of cutting edge again like you say, where you're getting two, three, four shots out of a round that you need to. I had my chances today, there's no doubt. I felt really good at times, hit some really great wedge shots and couldn't convert. It's all positive stuff, steps in the right direction, and you know, if it's not this week, it'll be next week. If it's not next week, it'll be the week after. I'm really trying to look at the big picture right now. Of course The Open Championship at St. Andrews gets my juices flowing, and I'll be back out here tomorrow giving it a rip.

Q. Why does it get your juices flowing?
GRAEME McDOWELL: What's so special about The Open at St. Andrews (laughing)? I mean, it's the Home of Golf, isn't it. It's the iconic golf course, the R&A clubhouse. It's just everything that The Open Championship sort of personifies, I suppose. Such a unique golf course, and you're walking in the footsteps of legends. You know, this is it. This is what it's all about, really. If you're going to win one, you'd like to win it here, but I'm not fussy. I'll take my first Open Championship anywhere, really. I don't really care.

Q. Has the (inaudible) been okay this year?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I think the putting has been a little off this year, but I think now I'm just lacking that little bit of confidence. There's nothing wrong with my technique. I've got a new putter in the bag the last few weeks. I really felt like I putted well at the Scottish Open with no reward, and it was a little bit the same today. Hit a lot of good putts for no reward. You can always tell when you're hitting solid putts on the lines that you're aiming them on. When they don't go in, you can't really do much more than hit a putt where you want to hit it, and that's kind of what it's been the last couple weeks. Certainly not questioning technique, I'm just questioning that little bit of belief and that little bit of confidence really, and that's going to come with letting it go and seeing the ball go in a little bit more.

Q. Is it harder to get something back like (inaudible)?
GRAEME McDOWELL: 17 has been very unkind to me over the years. 4 there today was about 1.8 shots below my scoring average at 17, so I was pretty happy with that. No, I mean, like I say, just focusing on me. A round like that today where it should have been, it's much more pleasing than sort of having one and throwing it -- I don't know. I mean, listen. You take it how you get it. I'm just trying to build some confidence myself. That's all I'm lacking, really. I'm just lacking some tournament rounds, some under-par rounds and just that little bit of belief and confidence, but that'll come. I'm enjoying it out there, which is a step in the right direction.

Q. It's a selfish game, a very individual game --
GRAEME McDOWELL: What are you trying to say?

Q. In the broader picture I was interested in your thoughts on Tiger Woods. He's at the bottom of the field. Is that something you thought you would see?
GRAEME McDOWELL: No, I think we're all shocked as players how good Tiger Woods is and has been, to see him struggling the way he is right now, I think it speaks volumes about what this game is all about. I'm standing here talking about lacking confidence and belief in what I'm doing. You see a guy like that whose highlight reel, his career highlight reel would take days to watch, so it's an amazing game, and I think that's why we have to count ourselves very fortunate that we've had an opportunity to be there on a Sunday afternoon and perform. It's a tough old game.

Q. Can you just take us through the birdies?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It won't take me long. There was only two of them. Driver, I had about a 78-yard shot to 10. I had a little lobber in there to about eight feet and made it. I then hit 9-iron into 11 to six feet and made that. Unfortunately that was quick.

Q. How many realistic birdie chances did you have?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I was 20 feet on 1, I was 12 feet on 2, I was 15 feet on 3, I was a long distance on 4. I three-putted 5 for par. I was 15 feet on 6. I was seven feet on 7. I was about 25, 30 feet on 8, and I was 10 feet on 9. So they were there for the taking, and I missed two short ones coming in on the back nine today. It was there for the taking today, I hit it lovely.

Q. Accuracy off the tee?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I drove it okay. I hit it in two bunkers coming down the back nine. 12, 13, 14 I hit it in trouble off the tee, but they weren't awful tee shots, they were just on the line. It was all right. It was good. Looking forward to tomorrow.
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