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DUBAI DUTY FREE IRISH OPEN HOSTED BY THE RORY FOUNDATION


May 19, 2016


Graeme McDowell


Straffan, Co. Kildare, Ireland

Q. How would you rate your first round?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Happy enough. I got off to a slow start. Made double on 3, kind of from nowhere. It was a tricky afternoon. I think the guys got some rain this morning. We got the wind this afternoon. All in all, I was fairly pleased with minus one and looking forward to getting back out in the morning.

Q. How would you describe what the conditions were like out there at The K Club?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Conditions were tough. Course has obviously taken a little bit of rain this morning and playing softer and longer. I haven't seen the scoring but I know the boys got wet this morning and they were squeegeeing greens and stuff. It was definitely a very strong breeze this afternoon.

I think all in all, I was probably happier to be out in the second part of the draw. Some tough conditions but good scoring at the same time from guys like Danny and Rory obviously.

Q. Got to ask you about the R&A's decision to remove Muirfield from the rota, with Muirfield's decision to stay all-male. Your reaction?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I heard that news this morning. Obviously we are really disappointed to lose Muirfield from the Open rotation. It's a wonderful golf course. They are well within their rights as a golf club to have a private golf club. That's entirely their decision.

I agree with the R&A. It's the only choice that they can make. We are in an equal opportunities world these days with social media and lots of media, and we are trying to grow the game of golf. We want to bring it to young people, women, men, whoever.

So I understand the R&A's position, and I agree with the decision. Like I say, disappointing to lose Muirfield as a golf course.

Q. After tough start, a nice bounce back?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It was. I kind of made 5 from nowhere there on the par 3 third. I hit a fairly innocuous looking tee shot and an okay chip, and rifled it five feet by and missed the one back and thought, uh-oh.

I hung in well after that. I hit some really nice shots, and the greens were pretty tough to putt. But I think they will be a lit bit more smooth in the morning and looking forward to getting back out there.

Overall on a tricky afternoon, I think we probably had the best part of the draw. Looks like the boys got a little wet this morning and obviously it was blustery this afternoon. I think we certainly enjoyed the best part of the day today.

Q. Plenty of home support?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It was good. Obviously big shows were a couple of groups in front of us with Rory and Danny, but we had our fair share of crowds out there, and playing alongside Thorbj√ɬłrn and Thomas Pieters, two great, young players. I really enjoyed the day and enjoyed the week so far. Nice to be back at The K Club, such a great venue, and nice and relaxed out there. Enjoyed the day.

Q. Setting nicely going into round two?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I'm very happy with minus one. One of those rounds that could have slipped away after the start. Some good scoring up at the top of the leaderboard obviously from Danny and Rory and guys like that, but I think two or three solid rounds and one decent one will really compete here, and there's a lot of golf to play.

The weather will obviously play a big part here this weekend and we've just got to try and keep it as low as we can and keep as close to the leaders as we can.

Q. On another subject, what did you make of the Muirfield decision today?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, obviously disappointed to hear the news. Muirfield is such a wonderful venue. Completely understand the R&A's decision though. This is an equal opportunity world. We are trying to grow the game. Women, juniors, all of the above, really. It's important that club -- the R&A are some of the driving forces in the world of golf and I get where they are coming from. Muirfield are well within their rights to make the decision. A private club is a private club, but we are very disappointed to lose them.

Q. A club in Ireland with similar issues is Portmarnock would you like to see that kind of club change to take The Irish Open again?
GRAEME McDOWELL: For sure. I think in the same vein, it's very difficult to see The Irish Open going back to Portmarnock if they don't make the right decision. Everyone has to be seen to be doing the right thing.

Like I say, I get the private club vibe, I do, but we would truly love from an Irish Open point of view going to Portmarnock and hopefully they will have us there some day.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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