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May 16, 2019

Graeme McDowell

Farmingdale, New York

Q. It's a golf course with a reputation, and you really dealt with it very well. I know the bogey in the last little bit of it was disappointing.
GRAEME MCDOWELL: Yeah, felt pretty good. Drove it pretty well in the front nine, kind of did what I had to do, which is play it off the tee. Didn't do that so well on the back nine, but scrambled well on the back nine. I missed a fairway on 10. Great up-and-down from about 100 yards for par. You know, really, really hung in there well on the back nine. Birdie on 17 was a bonus and the bogey in the last was disappointing. So all in all I would have taken par par coming in there, but the wind was tough to pick up there at times. But I just remains that I have to continue hitting a lot of fairways this weekend to have a chance to play this golf course.

But what I like about it is no one can play the course in the rough. It doesn't matter in you're Dustin Justin, or Brooks Koepka is probably mentioned right now, he can't get on the greens from the rough either.

So I think when I was coming here, I was a little hesitant about the course and the setup, but I was pretty happy when I saw it yesterday, how thick the rough was. And I felt like no one can play the rough if they play the course if they're missing fairways. And I like the way that kind of looked for me.

Q. How much of a US Open course does it look like? Because it is a US Open course. And it's been set up here in late spring. Difficult?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: I think it's a US Open setup. I think if you pinched the fairways in maybe another three feet, four feet on each side, you'd have a US Open. I think that's the only difference. They're probably slightly more generous that the USGA would have them, but only very, very slightly. It's an intimidating test off the tee. You have to drive the eyes out of it.

The guy who wins this week, he'll be top 10 in total driving. Without a doubt. You just can't -- unless you're up there in total driving this week, you're not going to have a chance to compete, simple. And I can only imagine that Brooks is driving the ball extremely well to be doing what he's doing today.

Q. You obviously had a win recently. Congratulations.

Q. It's changed almost everything, I would say, because clearly you are a majors player. You proved that in the past. How much has that one done for you?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: It's been a hundred-pound gorilla on my back the last three years, kind of needing it, wanting it, fighting for my card. I don't know how to deal with fighting for my cart. It's not really how I've been wired and how I've played all my career.

So to get that kind off my back and be able to start playing the kind of golf that I enjoy playing again, I was coming in here this week feeling so laid back actually, I was worried about how laid back. I've been looking forward to how I was going to feel, once I got to back to playing the kind golf the know I can. The win was obviously huge and beneficial. Looking forward, laying my schedule, it just helped me on so many levels. And my game is in very good shape. I'm very, very happy with a lot of things I'm doing, and I'm just looking forward to competing going forward.

Q. Clearly this is a long challenge, and it's a challenge which so many people have been saying is just for the long hitter. You're a medium hitter. You know this is a challenge.
GRAEME MCDOWELL: For sure. I'm happy enough going against Brooks Koepka. If he's hitting 5-iron, I'm happy enough to hit 5-wood or 3-iron. If he's hitting 9-iron and I'm hitting 4, that's a problem. This course is not that kind of course. He's got 5-iron, and I've got 3-iron or 5-wood.

So when it plays long for everyone, I'm okay with that. When I only -- there's only about two holes out here that I hate, because 9, for example, the 310 guys, 320 guys can lob it over the corner and hit wedge, and maybe to a certain tents. But apart from that, it's all right there in front of you. It's straight and long, and you have to hit fairways. And like I say, I don't feel that I'm -- yes, I'm at a disadvantage that I don't hit 320, but it's not exactly easy for anyone.

So I'm happy enough for the setup, and I think it's only gets drier and firmer, and I think it will -- if I can keep playing the way I played today, you know, be thereabouts come Sunday hopefully.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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