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November 1, 2017

Graeme McDowell

Las Vegas, Nevada

THE MODERATOR: Graeme, welcome to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Can I get some comments on being in Las Vegas this week?

GRAEME MCDOWELL: Yeah, second year here playing the tournament. Obviously, we were intrigued to go back here after everything that happened a couple months back and just feel the atmosphere. It's great to see everyone coming together the way they have. Obviously, we'll be playing hard. I'm trying to represent here this week and really supporting the Vegas Strong cause and hoping to play well and enjoy.

I obviously enjoy being here. It's a beautiful place. The golf course is in great shape. The weather is behaving itself. It's just a fun week to come here and play golf.

Q. Talk about your goals for the 2017-'18 season?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: Yeah, listen, just working hard. The '16-' 17 season didn't really work out the way I wanted it to. But I felt like there were a lot of positives I took away from the season.

But just kind of keep grinding. I'm in hard-work mode at the minute. Trying to stay patient with it and wait for it to happen. There are a lot of great players around these days. And I feel like I've had to up my work rate the last few years. Starting to feel the fruits of my labor are coming through, and trying to stay patient with it.

Q. Is this a wide open field? You look at what Rod did last year, he had a really low round here before. Are you going to have to go at least one time?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: Yeah, for sure. I think that's probably a fair assessment. I think you get conditions like that, like we just had this morning. This golf course, I think it's a little greener and lusher on the fairways this week. I think fairways are going to be easier to find than they were last year when it was firm, and fast and tricky. The greens are in wonderful conditions. I feel like if you can give yourself some looks for birdie, you can make some scores.

Like you say, I think the winner this week will have to probably throw a 64, 65 on one of the days.

Q. Is it the back nine they're going to have to take advantage of this week?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: I think both nines. I think the front nine is probably a little trickier. I think the back nine is a little more in front of you. You've got 15 and 16. Obviously, 15 a drivable four, and 16 a short drive over water. It's definitely a dramatic finish to this golf course, and like you say, it's offered up some low scores the last couple years. Definitely got to be thinking about putting the accelerator down this week.

Q. Long hitter, short hitter either one?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: I think I look at Rod Pampling as a reasonably short hitter and Brooks Koepka who is a long guy. So I don't think this golf course necessarily sets up for anyone in particular. I think you just have to golf your ball and keep it in play and take advantage of these great conditions.

Q. This being Las Vegas, maybe handful of favorites. Aside yourself, of course, maybe you and four others?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: From a betting point of view? You know, listen, this is perhaps an average enough field considering some of the strong fields we've had here in the past. But this tournament has gone from strength to strength. I think it's hard right now. Guys have a lot of golf and are just playing a lot of golf.

Obviously the schedules are evolving here over the next couple of years, and I think this field will continuing to from strength to strength. I think everyone loves to come here and play this great golf course.

Like you say, I feel like I might be a sleeper pick this weekend, if you like, and I'm working hard and I feel like the game is moving in the right direction.

Q. One last one, don't shoot the messenger on this. Tiger, obviously, announced he's coming back at his event. Just a few comments on the excitement surrounding his return?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: Yeah, listen, everyone's excited. I think we're all very thankful to Tiger Woods for the PGA TOUR we play today. From a financial and exposure and media and all of the above, really. I think we're all really intrigued to see what short of shape he'll be in physically when he comes back. He's playing his home event there in Albany at his tournament. He should be comfortable there. He made a lot of birdies last time he played. So we're all intrigued, and we're all excited to get him back out here on the PGA TOUR, doing what he does best, bringing fans in, bringing the attention in, and creating the buzz that he always has done.

It will be great to see him back out here competitive again among this group of young, talented, individuals that we have out here. I feel like he's moved the bar to a very, very high level, and guys are stepping up. We have a lot of great players out here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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