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August 1, 2018

Graeme McDowell

Reno, Nevada

THE MODERATOR: We're joined here by Graeme McDowell at the Barracuda Championship. Graeme, you were just mentioning it's been a long time since you've been to this venue. You found your way to the locker room. Talk about what your memories are of this golf course here in Reno.

GRAEME MCDOWELL: It's a really beautiful place, to start with. Kenny and I have only been together for about three months. We couldn't remember the last time we were here, but it was, yeah, just 2006.

And obviously a lot of elevation change here. Playing golf at elevation, there's a lot of math involved in playing out here, with downhills and the elevation, with how far the golf ball flies. And there's really a lot of computing and a lot of working out to do. Obviously having an experienced guy on the bag is obviously very important this week.

But never played the Stableford format. So certainly really excited about that. Trying to get my brain right and get my strategy right. Obviously rewards more aggressive golf. Iron play was great last week in Canada. So really, really happy with that element coming into this week because to make birdies you're going to have to give yourselves plenty of looks.

It's a funny week, this one. You can look at it one of two ways: You can be disappointed that you're not at Firestone with all the big boys, or you can view this as a great opportunity. And focusing on the latter. Could do with a couple of good weeks. And obviously being up here it's a weak field, I suppose, by World Rankings point of view. But as we all know, nowadays there's no such thing as a weak player on the PGA TOUR. They're all really good.

It's a great opportunity to put some FedExCup points on the board, which I need. And excited about the format. Should be a lot of fun.

Q. I was going to mention that, and you're obviously aware of it, your standings in the FedExCup. This is a pretty important week for you going forward in the next couple.
GRAEME MCDOWELL: Yes, very much so. I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I feel like it's not a do-or-die scenario for me. I feel if I was 25 years old without a European Tour card to fall back on it would be a do-or-die scenario. Certainly trying to put the pressure off, if I don't get myself into the top 125 it's not the end of the world for me. I still feel like I can play a great schedule next season.

That's what I'm trying to looking at it. Of course, it's nice to have the top 125 category going into next season I'll be doing everything I can this week. I'm not in the PGA next week and I'll go to Wyndham. So after two events I'll be giving 100 percent. I'm just definitely trying not to feel like it's Russian roulette the next couple of weeks, just trying to feel like, just go play golf. If it happens, that's great. If not, no big deal.

Q. You mentioned earlier obviously the Canadian Open, playing there last week, a top 20, you played nicely. And your only top 10 was H early in the season. How would you sum up your season overall?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: It's been frustrating one for the right reasons, I suppose, because I feel like I've played well and really just haven't done a good job putting 72 holes together enough. Kind of feel like I've turned 10ths into 25ths and 15ths into 30ths.

It's been a frustrating year, but basically walking away from events, even like last week knowing that the game's very close, and trying to take the positives away from that side of things. Whereas 12 months, maybe even 24 months ago, the game was really not in a good place. I feel like I've worked hard the last 18 months and I'm starting to see the fruits of my labor. But it's just not coming back as fast as I had hoped. And obviously it's testing my patience a little bit.

But, like I said, going back to that whole top 125 thing, if it doesn't happen, it's not like I'm going into this sort of void, not feeling like I'm playing well. I'll be going into a tough spot, feeling like, okay, I'm not playing well, I'm playing well enough to play myself out of that spot if that spot comes. So it's all good.

It's different challenges, different point in my career. Of course big goals of mine are to get back up into the top 25 in the world and competing in the major championships again. And I feel like I'm young enough and healthy enough and I'm playing well enough to do that.


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