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July 19, 2015

Graeme McDowell


GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, it was interesting. I played lovely. I really did. I played well. I drove the ball disgusting. Yeah, I'm not really quite sure what's wrong with my driving the ball. I've got the left, going left with the driver only and everything else is pretty good. I hit it in the trap on 6 and compounded the error and made double there, and I hit it in the trap on the par-5, 14th, and compounded the error there. I left it in the bunker, just trying to be a little too greedy, and that was kind of the story of the round really, because first day I've actually had the putter going at all. I putted terribly Thursday, Friday, and actually made some putts today and got off to a nice start. Eight birdies -- it was obviously fairly benign and fairly there for the taking this morning, but I mean, that's got to go down as an extremely frustratingly disappointing round that one unfortunately because it was there or thereabouts. Shit happens, though. You know, we're continuing to grind and grow, and we're getting there.

Q. What do you take out of it? Obviously it was a case of what might have been, but clearly when you make that number of birdies you know that the course is there.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, absolutely. That's what you take away. You take away the good iron play and the good short iron play and the putting, that little bit of momentum that I did gain. Driving the ball is one of my strengths. I'm not quite sure I'm just not -- I've struggled a bit last week in Scotland with my right to left shot and I'm struggling this week a bit again. I think I'm just not taking the right sides of the golf course on enough. Tee shots like 14, the par-5, I've hit it left there every day, even in practice I was hitting it left there, you know, so I can't seem to -- I guess St. Andrews has you hitting it left all day but at times you've got to take the right side of the golf course on, and I'm just not doing that well.

Q. And the steps you need to take to get back to where you were, how big a step was that out there?
GRAEME McDOWELL: That was some massive jumps in the right direction today. Just disappointing to not get the job done. But no, all the signs are there. There's a pulse, there's life. You know, I'm in there somewhere. I've just got to keep battling. It's tough to kind of get a kick in the stones like that one coming in today. But it's golf, isn't it. I'm enjoying the process. It's tough at times, but like I say, there's signs of life. I'm hitting it really solidly. Ball-striking is much, much better than it has been in a long time, and the chipping and putting is right there. Just got to wait, got to be patient. My time will come.

Q. At any stage in this process have you begun to doubt the fact that you will get back to where you were, or is this just a determination that you have?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I'm past the doubting phase of the process. The doubts were sort of three, four, five months ago. I'm out of the doubt phase. I'm back to the starting to enjoy the game phase and hitting some good shots phase. It's there. I'm starting to -- I feel like I'm starting to get to the good point of the process, which is when I start to see some scores coming together, and really close to that. Apart from half a dozen loose drives over the last three days, you know, tee to green, my ball-striking has been really, really good, and I'm pretty happy with that.

Q. Do you think the Old Course will stand the test of time?
GRAEME McDOWELL: We were talking about it the first couple of days. The bunkers are starting to become -- a lot of them are not in play anymore, when you see the type of power that these guys are kind of using and putting on the golf ball. You start to see an old test like this one and start to wondering what they can do with it to keep it up to sort of modern times. I mean, like I say, the bunkers are just not really in play enough. And I think, with a little bit of a tweak sort of here and there and tighten up some areas, make guys think a little bit more on some of the tee shots -- I don't think you've got to go put a ton of yardage on this golf course. I think if this golf course just had a tiny bit more rough and the bunkers were slightly up to modern yardages, you know, I think this golf course is still all there in front of you. The greens are its protection, and unfortunately driving the ball is just too easy this week. I'm hitting driver nearly 14, 15 times out there. There's just no deterrent out there to keep driver in the bag. There's not enough rough left of 17 there, for example. 2010 left of 17 wasn't very pretty. This week it's perfect. That's all there is to it. There just isn't quite enough rough this week, and like I say, a few of the bunkers are just a little bit out of date from where they're positioned, but this is a fantastic golf course, and it doesn't need a complete rejig. It just needs a little bit of reshaping here and there.

Q. (Inaudible.)
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I'd like to know what it feels like to hit those drives, yeah. I said something the other day, I was watching the coverage of Chambers, the tee shot he hit on 18 was about as good of a tee shot I've ever seen. That thing -- only in my wildest dream I'm going to hit one of those. It's awesome. That's where the game is at right now, and it's fantastic. It's cool.

Q. Is it something mechanical or is it -- the mindset when you come out?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It's a little bit of both, a little bit of both. I'm just not quite trusting my shape with it. Everything else is right there. It's nearly like the driver is a slightly different swing from the rest of the club. You're hitting up on it a bit more. I like to hit down on everything that I do. Even 3-woods and 5-woods when I hit them off tees I like to squeeze them and hit them down, but drivers nowadays you're trying to hit them up. I feel like I'm a little open and a little underneath it and it's just not happening. I need to have a little revision on my driver setup and see what's going on, but it's not far away. There has been times when I have driven it well the last four or five weeks, but it's been pretty dismal over the last two weeks now, especially in the right-to-left breeze last week in Scotland. It was pretty shit.

Q. (Inaudible.)
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, really happy for Paul. I played with him on Tuesday I think in a practice round, and he hit the ball very well. He's long and he's strong, and he looks like he's got a very complete game. Big day for him out there. I hope he goes and has a great day and kicks on. A lot of amateurs playing well this week. I think that speaks volumes about kind of how easy it is off the tee. It's not really a sort of tough test. But no, listen, proud of Paul. I hope he goes out and has a really great day today.

Q. (Inaudible.)
GRAEME McDOWELL: There is that, as well. I'm a big believer in that to be honest. I think the belief level in the young player these days is a hell of a lot different than it was 10 years ago. I think Tiger has switched the belief level to you don't have to be an experienced pro in your 30s to win a major championship anymore. You can be 21, you can be 19, you can win a major championship. Kids believe that now and they're better. Jordan Spieth, exactly. Obviously Tiger to guys like Rory and then on to Jordan, so the belief level is there, and I believe we're going to see many more Jordan Spieths coming this way very soon.

Q. One thing about your driving --
GRAEME McDOWELL: Do you see something?

Q. Are you trying to get more distance from your driver?
GRAEME McDOWELL: No, not anymore, no. Tried that, been there, done that, didn't like it. No, I'm just trying to hit fairways believe it or not. I'm just not doing it very well.

Q. And is that just an acceptance that it's going to be very tough?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, for sure. I've been through the process of trying to slash the driver and I can't get anything more out of it. I'm just back to trying to hit it in fairways again. Yeah, I'm just accepting the fact that, you know what, I'm going to get to venues and I'm going to be pretty frustrated that the big boys are hitting it 50 by me, but I just have to deal with that and move on.
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