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September 30, 2015

Graeme McDowell

Carnoustie-Kingsbarns, Scotland

SARAH GWYNN: Thank you for coming in this morning. Nice to be back at the Dunhill Links?

GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I believe it's been four years. It's always an event which I enjoy, especially when the sun shines. Here the weather can have a big impact on your level of enjoyment this week. Looks like we are set to have a fun one. Golf courses are in amazing shape.

I played Carnoustie and St. Andrews yesterday and I will play Kingsbarns today. A lot of dynamics going on this week. Obviously from an individual point of view, it's a big week, good money to play for, good World Rankings to play for, and it would be a good week for me to be competing. Played well here in the past and in good form here generally.

You know, obviously the partnership, the Amateur point of view, it's a lot of fun, as well. Playing with AP McCoy, which I'm very excited about, I think he's making his debut I think here at the Dunhill. It will be interesting to see how he gets on. I think the ground is good to firm out there, so should be grand.

It's great. I enjoy the dynamics with the playing partner. I feel like it's a nice deviation away from the focus and concentration of regular golf tournaments. I enjoy kind of switching on and switching off and getting involved with my playing partner, and looking forward to the dynamics of ap and hopefully we can both compete in the individual and the team events.

SARAH GWYNN: Good stuff in general, back on The European Tour last week.

GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I was pretty happy the way I played last week. The birdies were tough to read. I didn't putt very well. But tee-to-green, the game has really turned the corner. I felt it turned the corner sort of Open into Firestone, PGA.

I just don't think mentally I was able to kind of take the pressure off myself to let myself play well enough. That five weeks off after the PGA, the five weeks' break after the PGA Championship really helped me reset mentally and take the pressure off and get back to setting some good goals and see some good things the next 12 months.

Q. The winners in the Dunhill Links tend to be from Britain or Ireland. Seem to play to the strengths of your game?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I think it's the familiarity of the golf courses and I think it's the weather. It can be tough and it can be windy and cold here. You know, I've competed a couple of times myself. Michael Hoey, was that 2011 when he won? I played with him in the last group on Sunday. And Stephen Gallacher beat me here in a playoff in 2005.

Yeah, I think it's familiarity with the golf courses and dealing with the weather conditions and it's certainly a nice stat and I would love to have an opportunity to compete myself this week.

It will be interesting. Weather is not going to play such a factor this week so you have to really understand that scoring is going to be low this week and you have to play these courses aggressively and you have to make some birdies. At St. Andrews here, it doesn't have the kind of rough that it had at The Open and your game plan will change and you can play more aggressively.

Q. A year ago, talking about beating a certain Jordan Spieth in singles at the Ryder Cup. What do you make of what he's achieved since then, and did you see anything that day that would suggest he's going to become this wonderful star of the game?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, it's been an interesting one. Our years sort of following that have been very different. I've had a disappointing one and he's had an absolutely incredible, run out of superlatives to describe what he's achieved.

Being in the inner circle of the game the last five, six years, I really didn't think anyone could dominate the way Rory did last year and the way Jordan has this year. I thought the days of that kind of domination had passed. Even Jason Day to a certain extent and the run he's gone on, as well.

It's amazing. He's a breath of fresh air on many levels. He's a normal kid. He gets the job done with normal tools. He's lopping but he's not Rory or Dustin or Bubba long. He's just long, but he's kind of got the Luke Donald inside of 150 and he's got the Jack Nicklaus head on his shoulders. He's got it all.

It's really cool and really refreshing to see someone like him dominate the game the way he has, and I think we've got three or four kids that are up there now that are really, really great role models, as well. I think we are in good shape and you know, it's certainly motivating and inspiring for guys like me who are looking around kind of for things to motivate them. I look at Jordan and that gives me the inspiration I need.

Q. I know it's a year away but do you see him galvanising the Americans at The Ryder Cup next year?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I think he's going to be an integral part of this team. He's young; it's only going to be his second Ryder Cup Team. The dynamic inside of the team room is always an interesting one. Having a 22-year-old leader, it's an interesting dynamic. So time will tell kind of what role he's going to have but he's certainly going to be a big part of the team.

Their team is ever-changing. I feel like they have been in transition the last three or four years with some of the older faces starting to disappear and some of the newer faces starting to really establish themselves.

I think it's going to be a fairly raucous 2016 Ryder Cup and obviously I hope to be there. It's going to be an exciting buildup. Obviously I know Davis and Darren are doing their thing there with 12 months to go. Like I say, for a guy needing motivation, inspiration, the Ryder Cup -- setting that up, my goal; it's a big thing for me. I'd love to be part of it.

Q. Martin Kaymer and alluded that quite a few of the players from The European Team have perhaps not played their best since then. He suggested that it's almost a reaction to The Ryder Cup, the realisation of what you've achieved. Is that something you'd agree with?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I think the reason why I probably haven't been to this tournament for a few years; I think it's always really hard to get back on the horse the week after The Ryder Cup. I think it's such a physically and mentally demanding week. I always find playing golf the following week very difficult.

I think for me, there's a natural goal-setting of trying to get on to The Ryder Cup team once the points list kicks in. I think that I have a nice, measurable time frame to play well in. That's always important to me. I've recognised that in my off-Ryder Cup years that I need to be more disciplined and try to find something measurable to achieve when it's not a Ryder Cup points year.

There's no doubt, there's that initial fall-off after the tournament but I don't feel like it feeds on to the next 12 months necessarily. Like I say, when it comes to the points list, I've always been pretty good at reacting to goals like that.

Coming off seven or eight months of not playing very well, this is sort of a timely sort of way to start. I'm viewing last week and into this week and toward the end of the year as my 2016 year beginning. It's a fresh start for me and mentally reset, and I really enjoyed my golf last week in Germany. Although I didn't compete, I felt pressure and I felt like I was in a different frame of mind.

That's important. Like I say, I really want to be part of that team next year and hopefully achieve some good things on the way there.

Q. What do you make of Paul Casey's situation, not a member of the Tour this year and still not decided next year in terms of The Ryder Cup. Did you encourage him to regain the Tour? He obviously seems quite gutted about 2010.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, Paul Casey is a great player and his record is outstanding and he would be a great asset to the European Ryder Cup Team.

It's an individual decision. I get it. There's a lot of good things to play for. If you want to just stay in America, I get that. I've got a young family, I'm looking off into the future, and do I want to continue to travel as my kids grow up.

Like I say, it's very tough to change a guy's decision, and like I say, 2010, I'm sure he was disappointed not to be part of things. Tough to know what a guy is thinking and you can't really change that sometimes.

Like I say, all I can say is that I think Paul Casey to be a massive asset to the team next year and would love to have him. It's entirely up to him unfortunately.

SARAH GWYNN: Thank you and have a great week.

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