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July 17, 2015

Marc Warren


MIKE WOODCOCK: We'll make a start. I'd like to welcome Marc Warren to the interview room. Marc, that was a great run today, a 3-under par 69 and you're right in the mix after two rounds of The Open. You must be pleased with your position.

MARC WARREN: Yeah, absolutely. It was a long morning, obviously, with the delay. But definitely worked in our favour. It was going to be a tough morning if you had to go out and play in those conditions. The wind was up, which is kind of unusual I'd say that time of the morning, and like I said, fortunately for me I just started my warm-up and actually got to take shelter for a couple hours.

Q. First of all, what did you do during the warm-up, and then when you got playing early on, because were people flooding in, kind of huge galleries on the way out. Does that give you a taste for where you're going to be tomorrow and hopefully Sunday?
MARC WARREN: Yeah, the crowds were incredible today. Big difference to yesterday. I don't know if that was the difference when we teed off or just in attendance, but every hole seemed to be lined and a lot of great support out there. During the delay, I went back inside, sat in the players' lounge again for about 45 minutes, and then I ended up actually going to the car, went and sat in the car, watched a bit of TV and ended up falling asleep, kind of dozing on and off just listening to some music. Everybody Loves Raymond was on, Channel 4, just whatever was on TV.

Q. Tell us about when you were going through your warm-up and then being told you didn't have to go out?
MARC WARREN: Yeah, I had started my putting routine warm-up and that was going on a bit longer than normal, really didn't want to go start hitting balls. I had about 15 minutes to my tee time, which would be -- I'd probably start hitting balls about an hour before, so I was trying to eke it out as much as possible, stay as dry as I long as I could, so yeah, I was delighted when they said it was stopped. But I was surprised at how long they stalled for. Obviously the heavier stuff was coming in just after the delay. Like I said, delighted that we didn't have to go in it.

Q. When you saw the forecast last night, and when you woke up this morning did you check what the situation was? How was it?
MARC WARREN: Yeah, I looked at an app on my phone, and I think it was between 7:00 and 9:00 I think it was 95 per-cent-plus chance of rain, so I thought we were going to get wet. To be honest I didn't really think it was going to stop play. Just shows you how much rain must have been here already before we got here this week. The water table is obviously very high, unusual for St. Andrews to be stopped because of rain.

Q. How did the course play?
MARC WARREN: It was very soft. Obviously the wind -- back nine the wind was probably consistent to the front nine, and it was gusting a lot. I had two or three putts where starting my backswing you kind of get nudged over, so that will be tricky for the guys going out this afternoon. But like I said, the front nine was pretty consistent, but the golf course itself was pretty soft. You can pretty much fly it all the way at the hole. Pádraig Harrington, for example, at 18 must have had 40 yards, and it was spinning back, which as everyone knows for links golf is very unusual.

Q. As a guy who's comfortable and relaxed on the big stage, does that help, and how helpful can that be on the weekend?
MARC WARREN: Yeah, I think so. Again, more and more used to playing tournaments like this, and yes, U.S. Open was good, I got my name up there early on the first couple rounds and overall had a really good week there, a good week last week as well, really good finish, come through the field a bit on Sunday. Yeah, I feel as if I'm pretty close to top 50 in the world, just now played a lot of the world events and a couple of majors already this year. Well, this is my second major of the year. But I do feel comfortable. Game is in really good shape, obviously. Yeah, I feel totally at ease on the golf course, just battling the golf course and battling the conditions more than anything else. Certainly wasn't battling myself.

Q. At this stage in the championship, is it best to go chasing as opposed to having a target on your back, and does that suit you here at St. Andrews?
MARC WARREN: Best to be chasing, yeah. Yeah, I'll take whatever I get going into the weekend. I think if I was outside looking in, I would say it's probably better to come from behind. Obviously I'm not experienced in this situation, although I've won tournaments but not at this level. But you know, like I said, I feel okay on links golf in particular, so yeah, I mean, either way I'd be quite happy. Obviously you want to time your run to perfection. Last week I was probably a few holes shy, but this week it could be different. You know, I've just got to take whatever the golf course gives you. It's going to be a tough weekend. I think the wind is going to be up again, so just got to try and keep the ball in play and hopefully the putter is warm.

Q. How much does it say for the standard of the players today that the scores are so good despite the really bad conditions? You've got Danny on 10-under, I think, and a lot of guys made some very good scores in bad conditions yesterday.
MARC WARREN: Yeah, I mean, it's obviously tough with the wind. I think the scoring would be very different if the course was firm. I think when the course is soft and the wind is like this, it does give you the opportunity to get the ball close to the hole, and the greens are pure, as well, so you can hole some putts. But like I said if it starts gusting like it was the back nine there, kind of the last six, seven holes, guys will find it difficult to make as many birdies as maybe the earlier starters. But yeah, the standard, it goes with everything, a standard of kind of golf is getting better all the time. It's getting deeper all the time. Equipment helps, as well. A stable golf ball, all those drivers, whatever, guys are hitting it through the wind a lot more than they used to, so it's a lot easier to control your golf ball.

Q. You'll have grown up dreaming of contending in the Open. Just try and explain what it feels like if you can.
MARC WARREN: Pretty relaxed at this moment in time. Just really enjoying the atmosphere. I'd say I've got a few years' experience on Tour. I know it's very early days as far as the golf tournament goes. There's only two rounds gone. Really just relishing the opportunity ahead of me this weekend, enjoying the situation I've put myself into, and like you said, this is a situation and something everyone dreams about who's played golf as a kid. To live out at least a part of that dream is pretty cool.

Q. Was there any point in your round today where your mettle was really tested, where you had to show not just ability to get through it but mental strength to get through it?
MARC WARREN: I was pretty level headed all day. I got a little bit frustrated, though, on 11, but I felt as if I hit a really good tee shot on the par-3, tried to hit a little fade, 8-iron should have been plenty of club. It went up, started to fade and then I got a gust and actually almost came back, and I thought the wind was helping. I normally carry my 8-iron 3 yards forward and the yardage was 164, and I've hit it solid and it's carried 155, and in the air it was looking good, and like I said, got a massive gust and ended up making bogey there. So going to 12 tee I was quite frustrated because I'd got it to 7-under, a good bump there on 10 and felt like I gave it straight back knowing that you're turning back into the toughest stretch of the golf course. I had to kind of get myself in check a little bit there before my tee shot on 12, and I kept telling myself, and caddie as well was telling me it wasn't anything we'd done. We wouldn't have changed what club we chose, it was literally just the elements, and that's what I was saying about the gusting winds. A couple putts coming in I felt as if the wind helped me a little bit during my stroke caused me not to have the best putts. At that time I was trying to laugh at them more than anything else.

Q. At the Dunhill you won a big check to get yourself into this field. Talk about heading into The Open in contention.
MARC WARREN: Yeah, I played with Pádraig, as well, there, so it was definitely different circumstances this time around. Yeah, that's part of what I was saying and touched on, that I've got absolutely nothing to lose this weekend. I'm just enjoying the situation I'm in. Game is in good shape, and just hopefully that can continue through the weekend.

Q. It's obviously not been plain sailing in your career when you fell off the Tour. How much did that teach you and how much can that stand you in good stead for the weekend, that kind of mental toughness?
MARC WARREN: Yeah, I mean, obviously the memories of it being here, as well, when I pretty much got my card back, hadn't really done an awful lot that season, I was kind of stop-start with getting a few invites at the start and then it kind of dried up the middle of the year and then got a couple towards the end, which helped me massively. You know, it's a totally different side of the game than trying to win a golf tournament. You're literally playing for your job and your livelihood. I feel as if I can come through that and still perform, especially in such a tough finish as we've got at St. Andrews, and still was brave enough to commit to my targets and hit the shots I had to then, so I don't see why I'm not able to do that this weekend.

Q. Is there any particular Open that you watched during the years when you were young that inspired you, one that stands out at all?
MARC WARREN: I think Tiger Woods here was pretty special in 2000. That was just an absolute exhibition. That was as good as golf gets, I think, at that time. And then obviously I played Lytham the first two days, watching Pádraig and his wins, Carnoustie, Birkdale, I think it was, that 5-wood he had, we were talking about that today, was one of the best shots I've ever hit, I think. Yeah, a few memories like that, but I'd say the biggest one, the lasting one is probably the Woods one here in 2000. Technically I've watched that swing thousands of times. Not being able to match it, but we can all dream, I suppose.

Q. You seem incredibly cool and calm and collected. Is it important for you now that you don't bring emotion into it, even though you're up there? A looked at the leaderboard I'm sure would send the pulse quickening. Is it important for you to just kind of chill?
MARC WARREN: Yeah, I think I'm pretty chilled out most of the time anyway, except when I've got a gust of wind. But no, a couple of times today I allowed myself to look at the leaderboard when kind of I joined the lead with a couple other guys, and just trying to soak up that moment. It doesn't happen every day, and like I said, just tried to enjoy my name was there. But trying to fight the weather and make sure I was fairly concentrating and focused on the next shot, and I did a good job of that. But you know, I let myself do that because that was the first time I've been in that situation. If it's tomorrow and Sunday, hopefully my name is in a pretty similar position, but I won't be -- I'll be looking at the leaderboard to see who's on it but I won't be looking at it to enjoy it.

Q. You've got Danny Willett up above you. Have you played much with him and can you talk about his game and his character, as well?
MARC WARREN: Yeah, I've played a lot with Danny over the years. When he first came on the scene, it looked as if he would be in the situation he has now, well up there in the World Rankings, et cetera, maybe a lot sooner than he has at this moment in time. He had a couple of lean years by his standards, I would say. Everyone has seen the potential in him, quality ball striker. I would actually probably say he was longer then than he is now. Technically he's changed his swing quite a bit, made it a lot more solid, which is obviously to his benefit. He's consistently high performing now. You know, he's a character. He's a good person. Like I said, I've played a lot of golf with him, spent a lot of time with him, through Callaway events, et cetera. As recently as Monday night we were together. Yeah, he's always been good to me. We shared the same coach for quite a while, as well. So spent a lot of time together, but yeah, he's obviously a quality player and on a great run of form, as well.

MIKE WOODCOCK: Marc, thank you for joining us, and best of luck on the weekend.
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