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June 9, 2019

Graeme McDowell

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Q. What's bigger, getting into the Open Championship or not being asked the question?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I think the latter. I think I had reasonable belief in myself that I was going to be able to take care of it one of these weeks. Obviously as the pressure started to build it was going to be more difficult as it went along.

Awesome to get it done here. It's been such an amazing week. Very proud of RBC and everyone at Wasserman for what they've achieved this week with this new date and coming here and putting this event on. It's been a major success. Going to get a decent winner as well with Rory.

Obviously very proud to have got one of the Open Championship spots and get that little monkey off my back and let me go and play some golf the next few weeks.

Q. Did you think you had a chance after the approach on 17? You looked pretty despondent.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I was disappointed playing 17. I was on the 17th tee box knowing that I had to hit the fairway to make birdie there. Well, obviously I chopped it out. I could have got to up and down. But the way that green is shaped it's very difficult to hit a wedge shot in there.

When I missed the fairway on 17 and didn't make 4 there I was pretty despondent walking to the 18th tee. I knew that 18, it's such is difficult tee shot and I didn't hit a very good one.

Left myself no pitch shot. My caddie is trying to do the math as we walk up to 18 green. He's thinking 5 may be good enough. Basically said, don't mess around with a chip shot. Give yourself a look at 4. We did that, and, man, it was --

Q. Was it makeable? It was 30 feet and down.
GRAEME McDOWELL: The putt was not makable, no. It was literally a 1 and 10. It had 12 feet of break on it. It was ridiculously tough putt to make. Just fancied it, I saw it, liked the way it looked, and when I saw it go in it was a huge relief.

Obviously at that point I still didn't know if I was guaranteed to be in, but I knew that 4 gave me more of a chance than 5.

Q. What do you make of what Rory is doing out there?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Pretty amazing. Rory has had a huge amount of focus this year. Really feel like he's in a different place mentally than ever before in his career. Awesome to see him out there doing Rory-like things getting himself ready for next week at Pebble.

Proud of him. Great to see him and Shane up there. Just feel like I let the side down a little bit by finishing 9th or whatever I am going to finish. I'm letting the Irish lads down, and they'll probably let me know about that later I would imagine.

Q. Why is there so many good players from such a small country?
GRAEME McDOWELL: The game of golf is very cheap and accessible in Ireland. I think that's the only really way I can sort of quantify it. Lots of clubs with great junior programs. It's cheap. I would've never played the game of golf if it had been expensive. We wouldn't have been able to afford to do it.

It was cheap, accessible, lots of kids doing it. Clubs are very welcoming. Great conditions, great golf courses, hard conditions, weather. Toughens you up a little bit.

So, yeah, it's weird. It's a weird thing. Great to see. Obviously proud to be part of it. You know, obviously big part of that is the Open Championship going back to Portrush. It's going to be really cool and well supported.

Q. Graeme, can you compare winning on the PGA TOUR earlier this year to this accomplishment, or just two totally different things?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Different things. I mean, it's like chasing a ghost out there when you're trying to play for these spots because you don't know whether fifth is going to be enough and you're thinking tenth might be enough.

Literally going out there today thinking 65 might miss and 68 might get in. Weird one. Very hard to focus. I wasn't really focused on the golf tournament at all today. I was just focused on trying to make a few birdies and get myself as many under par as I could, which is weird.

You're out there playing for a lot of FedExCup Cup points and a lot of cash, and all I can focus on is trying to get exempt for the Open Championship. I might go to Portrush and miss the cut and think, What was all that about?

We'll see. Obviously answers all the questions for me for the next few weeks. I can go to Pebble and forget about Portrush and focus on Pebble and go to the Irish and Scottish Opens and focus on those as well and start getting my game in shape and getting ready for Portrush.

Q. Any plans celebrate tonight?
GRAEME McDOWELL: You know, we're on the Golf Canada charter over to Pebble. Maybe a couple brewskis on there perhaps. Typically the RBC charters the Sunday night of the Open Championship on the way to the Canadian and there is more than a few brewskis had that night. I think as we head to a major championship we'll be a little bit more behaved than normal.

I'll certainly enjoy a couple of drinks, and obviously looking forward to getting over there and getting ready for Pebble.

Q. What's your favorite drink?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I like them all. That's my problem.

Q. Just quick on the fan support this week. You were given a thumbs up after you nailed the putt on 18. Seems like they were excited for you.
GRAEME McDOWELL: For sure. You know, I said at the start I'm so excited for RBC, obviously one of my great partners. For them to get this date and to execute as well as they have, and for the fans to come out in the thousands -- feels like it's been close to 20,000 a day here.

Obviously a testament to the field we've had and obviously the leaderboard that's obviously Canadians and RBC guys and just great players. Great support out there. Really good. Lots of northern Irish people here. It's a unique part of the world. Lots of Irish support, and people are always really nice to me up here. Certainly enjoyed my week.

Like I say, proud of the guys for executing such a successful tournament.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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