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June 28, 2018

Graeme McDowell

Paris, France

GRAEME McDOWELL: I talked about the weight being lifted off my shoulders at Wentworth, I mean, I still feel that. Bit of a speed wobble at Shinnecock. I really played okay there tee-to-green both days. I was surprised to miss the cut at 9-over Friday morning. I was hoping to get another two rounds under my belt, whether that would have been good or bad for the confidence, not really sure looking bad. Consequently went to Hartford the following week and didn't play well.

Coming back here again, having that sort of freedom being out there playing golf being back in a comfort zone, you know -- this is where it all happened for me. This is where I grew up and this is where the most familiar golf is for me, where I've won twice and I feel very, very comfortable.

I was telling the guys Sunday night about how important comfort level is for guys on the golf course. For guys that know this place, it's an intimidating track. You have to stand up on some of these tee boxes and pump your chest and say, right, I'm going to hit an aggressive shot. It's an intimidating tee shot if you haven't played this golf course very much.

Obviously I would love to post a big finish this week and try to get myself back on the edge of that radar. It's going to take some golf for me over the summer to be back on the radar but if I could be on the edge of the radar somewhere, that would be nice. I still have an ambition to play on the team?

Q. You say you have the comfort zone, it's feast or famine for you, isn't it. Is it just the way you get out of bed feeling?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I think it's a week when I'm controlling my ball. This place, you know, this place plays to my type of game, which is good iron play and strong putting. Today my iron play was very strong. It was feast or famine on the greens to be fair. I was really good or really horrible.

A little bit of sharpening to do on greens this afternoon and maybe some tee shot work to make sure I can control my flight off some of these tees. It's not a driver golf course. There's about three drivers out there, so it's other clubs, finding fairways with other clubs in crosswinds. That was really the hard part about today.

A couple of times I got myself in trouble just trying to do a little bit too much off the tee. Trying to hit slices against the right-to-left wind and trying to control my ball and I didn't really get it in play as much as I needed to at times.

4 was the example -- 4 was a driver, I just didn't hit a good shot on 4 to be honest with you. My concentration was off. There was a guy walking beside us, backed off. I hit it left a couple times in practise. I'm hitting 5-wood there, crosswind, it's a must-hit fairway.

But I paced the sixth fairway at 275 off the tee, 18 yards -- sixth fairway and the fifth fairway is very similar. So these fairways are elusive, especially when the wind is dead across. You have to hit the perfect shot. It's very tricky out there and the forecast is the wind to increase as the day goes on, so it could be interesting this afternoon. Have a cup of tea, put the feet up and have a wee watch.

I made 5 on 4 and I felt that's when the wind started to get up on us. On 5, I don't know what I was trying to do off that tee. I was trying to hit a low-punch-slice 5-wood and I ended up hitting a duff-block-slice. It was beautiful. I was lucky to find the ball, first and foremost.

It was a bad lie but all the rough was kind of going with me and I was able to kind of go out sideways with the direction of the grass and hit a really good chip shot out of the rough. Hit a beautiful 8-iron about 15 feet and made it. That was nice. That felt good because I just bogeyed 4 and if I bogeyed 5, it felt like a round that was starting to slip away because it was starting to get tough. That save was huge at the time.

Obviously really nice to birdie 9.

Q. You're always comfortable being up around the lead, aren't you?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, sure, it's nice to come back and play well. The game's been trending the right direction. Wentworth gave me some really nice confidence which I feel is that missing X-factor with me at the minute.

Like I say, Shinnecock kind of knocked it out of me as the U.S. Open kind of can. Trying to build on that this week and position myself and you know, it's going to be a battle obviously for a couple of days if these weather conditions continue. There's 80s out there in a heartbeat. You have to just try and stay patient, control your golf ball as well as you can.

Q. You mentioned that you could play your way in. Do you get the feel walking around here today what it might be like with 50,000 people?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I think the last couple of days, I've been visualising what it could look like, standing on the 15th tee box, looking around, what the amphitheatre is going to look like.

I saw some of the renderings of what the first tee, 18th green area is going to look like. It's going to be tremendous. I really believe this is going to be the best Ryder Cup venue we've taken the Americans to in a couple of decades. I think it's going to be a great, great venue.

I'm obviously really keen to hear what Justin thinks of the golf course. Maybe a little skewed opinion today in this breeze, but you know, I think this is going to be a magnificent venue. I think from a spectating point, I think this is like the TPC Sawgrass of Europe with natural dunes and natural stadium effect some of these holes have.

It's going to be a classic and an experience for the players and Versailles and the golf course is going to be magnificent, as well. I'm excited to be part of it in some shape or form but like I say, I still have ambitions to make the team.

Q. Will the setup favour the Europeans?
GRAEME McDOWELL: The old theory is, tight and scruffy. They set it up wide and semi-rough and middle of the green pins for 350-yard birdie-fest and we always like to set it up a little tighter and a little tougher and maybe not having the greens quite as fast. It's the Europeans versus U.S.

Like you say, does it favour our guys more than theirs? Well, we think it does but like you say, you have the 24 best players in the world and they are pretty adaptive nowadays, let's be honest and most of our guys play in America now.

My name is a hell of a lot more Americanised nowadays than it was ten years ago. 20-, 30-mile-an-hour winds used to be my bread and butter. It not my bread and butter anymore. You build a set of golf clubs and you build a golf ball and you build a bag to try to get these things coming in there soft and you get in there today squeezing it back under the wind today and you're like, how do I do that again.

Q. Still a bit of jam on the bread and butter when you shoot rounds like that?
GRAEME McDOWELL: That was nice. A bit of work to do this afternoon but we'll get out there.

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