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May 25, 2018

Graeme McDowell

Surrey, England

Q. Busy week for you, named an assistant captain to Thomas Björn you and end up playing 36 holes with him. How would you describe the first two days?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It's been a lot of fun. I think under normal circumstances if I had not been announced as vice captain this week; and obviously being asked to perform in front of The Ryder Cup Captain for a guy who needs to play well this summer, I think the pressure would have been on me.

But slightly different kind of vibe I suppose, feeling like I am part of the team, and I really feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders a little bit which is allowing me to go out there and enjoy my golf at Wentworth.

And the Captain shook my hand on the last green there and surprised me, and with a surprise in his voice saying, "Nice playing, G-Mac."

It was great, perfect conditions out there this morning. I'm not sure I've played two rounds at Wentworth this benign, and I think that's why you're seeing the low numbers we're seeing.

Q. Your best finish is a tie for 13 in 2009. Are you figuring out things specifically that fit your game around the West Course?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I think this golf course has evolved in the right direction. I think they have had a few goes at it and didn't quite get it right and I think this time they have.

Obviously with the commitment from BMW, The European Tour and Wentworth, I mean, this is our Flagship Event and I think the golf course is now in a state where the players are really starting to appreciate what we have here.

So this is my first look at the new redo and I'm really liking what I'm seeing from the bunkers to the way the greens are rolling, especially.

Q. You're among the chasers of Rory McIlroy. How difficult is that ask over the weekend?
GRAEME McDOWELL: You know, when Rory is on his game, he's incredibly tough to catch. I know he likes it around here, having won here in the past, and these are perfect conditions for him. Obviously no wind, target golf; he can use his length and his ball flight control to his great advantage.

But obviously hoping to give him a run for his money this weekend and hopefully we can get some drier weather and a little bit of wind and keep us all honest.

I drove the ball as well as I can drive it and my iron play was pretty disgusting, really, but today was a little bit more like it. I hit a lot more irons on line. These greens are very receptive and you can really attack.

To be honest with you, I'm not sure I felt as good on the greens at Wentworth as I do this week. I'm really seeing the ball rolling nicely and consequently making some nice putts.

So feeling very comfortable out there, looking forward to being in the mix coming into the weekend. This is always a fun event and the golf course is in as good of shape as I've ever seen it.

Q. You've mentioned the greens there. Is it a testament to the investment they have made on this golf course over the last couple of years?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It's taken a huge amount of commitment from The European Tour, Wentworth and BMW. This golf course was not a favourite among the players and they have managed to really dig in and get it right this time. The bunkers are great and the greens are running spectacularly well. I think the Flagship Event of The European Tour requires a golf course that the players appreciate and I think we have that now.

Q. Obviously named as a Ryder Cup vice captain this week, do you think it takes pressure off the playing side? Because if you're hitting 67 around here, you must feel that you have a chance of getting on to the team as a player?
GRAEME McDOWELL: For sure. I think 36 holes with the captain the last two days, would I have been in a completely different mind-set if I had not been announced as vice captain this week. I would have been out there trying to perform for him and show him I still have what it takes to be there in France.

But in a funny way being named vice captain, it's taken the weight off my shoulders a little bit. I'm out there kind of free-wheeling, enjoying my golf and managing to play well, and I've kind of got a "well-played, G-Mac" there from the captain there with a surprise tone in his voice on the 18th green.

Listen, I'd dearly love to be on the team playing in France, but in the meantime very committed to helping the captain with everything I can do for him.

Q. And finally, how much are you looking forward now in the first Rolex Series Event of the year going into the weekend at the right end of the leaderboard?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, nice to be on the business end of things. Obviously we have another Northern Irishman who is playing awfully well out in front of us but will doing my best to narrow that gap going into Sunday and hopefully he can with get some nice dry weather and a little bit of breeze and we'll see what happens.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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