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February 2, 2020

Graeme McDowell

King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia

Q. Your first European Tour victory in six years, describe your emotions?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I didn't realise it had been quite that long here in Europe. I'm very excited. I'm very relieved. This is a difficult golf course this week. It's unusual to win feeling as uncomfortable as I did on a lot of these holes because it was a tough golf course these last two days, especially with tough conditions. The birdies on 14 and 15 were just huge at the time, and it was nice to have a that little cushion coming down the last couple.

My big goal this year was to be back in the Top-50 in the world, back competing in the big tournaments. I'm very excited that it's happened a little faster than I expected but hopefully it's laying some foundations down for having a big year.

I really feel like I'm moving in the right direction, and it's weeks like this that really give that you which I can eye on effect and hopefully I can use it.

Q. How long has that road been getting yourself back into the world's Top-50?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, it hasn't even been on the radar probably until about six months ago when I really started feeling like I was turning the corner. The win in the Dominican last year on the PGA Tour was huge, just to keep my job in the right place, you know, to give me a job to go to for the foreseeable future. Once I had that ticked off, it was a case of, right, how do I start getting better, how do I get myself back to where I want to be.

So the fourth in Hawai'i a weeks ago was amazing, and this is huge, world-class field, No. 1 player in the world here, massive to win, massive World Ranking points and like I say, hopefully I can kick it on into the season.

Q. You made four Ryder Cups. How much is that on your mind? Is it too early to say?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Too early to say. Westy, he text me last night, you know, when I was leading. Obviously I was thinking about him a little bit the last 24 hours and his win in Abu Dhabi. I guess we didn't really enjoy the vice captaincy thing in Paris. I would love to be on the team. But there's a lot of things that need to happen between now and then before I get myself on the team.

I'm a little like Lee. I want to play my way on to the team and I don't want to have to rely on that pick. But we'll see. A lot of things need to happen. My schedule is going to change a little bit here, maybe in México, maybe in the Masters, things like that. We were trying to plan an Easter holiday the weekend of the Masters. That may have to go on hold now.

Q. Do you feel your game is getting back to somewhere near it's best?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I do. It's been ten years since a won a U.S. Open, ten years probably since I played the best golf of my life. I feel like I'm moving back in the right direction. I've got my head around what I'm trying to do with the swing and what I'm trying to do with the golf ball again, thanks to Kevin Kirk, who I started working with last August, and Pete Cowen who has been by my side for many, many years. Kenny on the bag there; I have a solid team. Life's settled down. I've got a great wife and great family. I'm very happy with what's going on in my life right now. I feel like the pond, the ripples in the pond have kind of steadied out a little bit now, and I'm in a good place to play some good golf.

Kevin said to me, "There's no reason why the best golf in your career can't still be ahead of you." I like that. I like that kind of idea. I like that focus.

Q. How much resolve did you have to show on the golf course today to get over the line?
GRAEME McDOWELL: A lot of things going on today. We were a bit out of position. That bad time on Thursday was all of a sudden kind of looking like it could be a serious problem and I want to kind of say something about that.

The referee Andrew Snoddy, I just want to apologise to him. I felt like I threw him under the bus. He's trying to do his job and the referees on The European Tour, they run a brilliant show. I felt like there were extenuating circumstances. They stood by their guys and hey, they are trying to apply The Rules of Golf. No hard feelings on my end. Once that was resolved, we moved on.

It looked like it was going to become a little bit of a problem out there because Victor and I could not seem to get back in position today. Pace of play was Sunday and everyone was trying to get out of here and we just couldn't seem to catch up but thankfully we got the job done today and like I say, big shout-out to the European Tour referees and everything they do for us on Tour.

Q. The turning point, the crucial moment of that round that won you the tournament?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, 14 green, I hit a great iron shot in there. I started doing the math. I saw Pieters was in the clubhouse at 9. I was at 11 at the time, or I was 10 at the time, and I knew what I had to do. I just had that extra little of focus and resolve on 14 green and buried the putt.

15 was great, hit a lovely second shot and didn't expect it to go as close as it did. The birdie on 14 was huge, followed up by 15, gave me a cushion coming down the stretch.

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