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July 7, 2016

Graeme McDowell

Inverness, Scotland

Q. What do you make of 2-under par to start?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, pretty happy with it. It was a bit of a battle out there at times. Wind strength certainly increased as the day win on. Holes like 18 up on top here are very, very exposed and 1, 2 and 3 and even the downwind holes are tough.

It's very tough to get the ball close to the hole and you're doing a lot of long-range putting and the greens are slow. Because of the wind strength conditions, you have to keep a bit of grass on them. It is tough to get your speed out there. But the surfaces are very pure and you do feel like you can make some when you get a chance.

Q. Do you slip back into the method needed to links golf? You've been to Troon already.
GRAEME McDOWELL: I think the two days at Troon were a big help coming into this week. The wind really blew hard Saturday and Sunday when I was there. Hit a lot of shots controlling my ball flight across the winds and into the wind. Put a 2-hybrid in especially for these weeks and I got a good workout with it at Troon, and it's a very important club for me in these conditions.

A good couple days at Troon really prepared me well and nice to get a couple under and get off to a good start. If it continues to blow like this, this is going to be a grind this weekend. You need to hang in and stay in touch.

Q. Where is your balance, because this is a big, prestigious tournament, but I imagine there's still a focus on next week?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, there's one eye on next week. I wouldn't be fussy, I'll take a win any one of these two weeks. I'll take competing any one of these two weeks. End of the day, every event we play is a big event.

Yes, the majors are obviously something a little special, but Scottish Open is a big event. It would be great for my confidence to play well here this weekend and like I say, I'm not fussy where I play well. I just want to try to stay patient. Feel like I'm playing well and just need to hang in there this weekend.

Q. You genuinely do feel your game is coming nicely into play?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, it's been a funny year for me. It's looked volatile from a results point of view but within me I feel like I've played better than that. Just trying to stay relaxed and enjoy it.

Q. This is a course which has divided opinion among players over the years; do the conditions brings the best out of Castle Stuart out?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Coming from a guy who inadvertently criticised the place a few years back not trying to do so, pleasantly surprised by how good the golf course actually is. I feel like we didn't play in this wind direction when I was here in 2011. I remember the holes playing -- 18 was playing short, I was on in two.

But this wind direction is southwest, obviously prevailing this time of year, really shows the teeth in the course. Holes like 13 and 17 and into the front nine there, 1, 2 and 3, they play great in this wind direction. And some of the changes they made off th back of 2011, a couple new bunkers here and there, really tighten the golf course up. And like I say, pleasantly surprised by how good the golf course is actually playing.

Q. You touched on this already, but there's no reason why you can't go on Sunday night and win your second Scottish Open title.
GRAEME McDOWELL: This is really going to be a marathon this weekend, if are these wind strengths continue, it's important to hang in there. Lots of quality players here this weekend and that was an important morning to get off and running and get a couple under par and give me something to grab on to tomorrow heading into the weekend.

I spent a couple days at Troon Saturday and Sunday, and I feel those wind strengths set me up and prepared me well for today and hopefully I can continue into the weekend.

Q. Monty said yesterday -- about players that are not going to the Olympics, I know you're going for non-Zika reasons, but do you reckon he has a point?
GRAEME McDOWELL: There's no doubt. It is a disappointing showing from the golfers. I know that tennis stumbled its first year as an Olympic sport and I think it's going to take a little bit of time to capture the imagination of the golfers; throwing Zika into that; throwing a new schedule into that; its geographical position.

It's just caused a bit of a problem, and it is disappointing that we are not supporting it better. But there are a lot of very, very good individual reasons, and I think that you've got to give the players their little bit of space and see what they can do.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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