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March 13, 2020

Graeme McDowell

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

Q. Just your thoughts on how everything has kind of transpired over the last 24 to 48 hours?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: Yeah, since Wednesday night and obviously the presidential address, it's just, everything has escalated pretty fast. Not really surprised. I mean, with all the other professional sports really kind of just pulling the rip cord really hard, it was -- obviously, the pressure was really mounting on golf to do the same thing. Even though we're a very, very different environment from closed-door arenas, it's just not an argument, though. There's such a bigger picture at stake here, and containment is so important, and we have to be seen to be doing the right -- well, we have to do the right thing. It's not even being seen to do the right thing. We have to do the right thing. It's a responsibility and there was just no other choice.

It's disappointing from the point of view of this tournament where we're walking in here today, it's blue skies and perfect weather and this golf course is ready to go, but we have to be responsible and make sure that this thing gets contained, that we can move on with life.

Q. With what's gone on the last couple days in the sports world and in the world in general, has it been almost surreal in a sense?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: It is surreal. Checking out of the hotel this morning, looking around, it was a ghost town, walking in here this morning, it's unprecedented. It's surreal. It's just weird. You know, it's just something that no one really knows the answers to, no one really knows how to deal with this. Like I say, we've got to do the right thing. We have got to be responsible, and we've got to be safe and get the world back on an even keel.

Q. Is it kind of weird not knowing when you're going to play next?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: Yeah, it is weird. I saw Rory's quotes this morning. He said, Go home and practice. And I'm not really sure what we're practicing for, but you know, it's going to be a forced bit of time off, get a bit of time with the kids at home, which will be nice. But obviously it's important to stay focused, stay sharp. There's a lot of golf ahead. We still have a major championship potentially on the horizon in three, four weeks' time. What's going to happen there? Who knows. There's no point sitting around speculating. We've got to just focus on the now and stay ready and stay sharp. And like I say, just keep monitoring and leave it to the powers that be that they'll make the right decisions, and hopefully we'll be -- professional sport and hopefully life will be back where it needs to be here pretty soon.

Q. When you came off the course yesterday, could you have foreseen this coming?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: I did -- I mean, I feel like -- I spoke to some of the NBC guys last night and they were speculating. Golf on Friday was looking a little doubtful. To be honest, I was expecting the horn to go off on the ground yesterday. I saw all the other professional sports not just saying, Hey, closed doors. They were saying, We're out. Canceled until further notice. And I just felt like from a responsibility level point of view that our sport had to do the same. I wasn't surprised when I got the text message. I know a few guys probably went to bed early last night for early tee times this morning and wake up and went, What? So it was crazy stuff. But like I say, not surprised. It's the right call. It's the responsible move. At the end of the day what we're doing out here is insignificant compared to what's going on on the planet right now. From a health point of view, from a financial point of view, it's a really crazy environment right now.

Q. Are you pleased with how Jay has handled thing over the last few days?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: Jay Monahan is a fantastic commissioner, does a phenomenal job here with the PGA TOUR. I mean, it's such a tough decision to make. It's so hard to know what to do. There's no playbook for this. There's no kind of -- there's no set of rules to follow in this type of situation because it's so unprecedented. No, he's a great leader, and obviously it's a very, very difficult call, especially when we're here at the jewel in the crown of the PGA TOUR. Like I said, the weather is 85 and perfect, the golf course is in great shape, got $15 million to play for, amazing sponsors. Such a hard call for him to make. But it's the only call and it was the right call.

Q. You've got family at home. It's important for them, too, isn't it?

Q. No, parents.
GRAEME MCDOWELL: Oh, parents. Oh, for sure. As a 40-year-old reasonably healthy man, if I contracted coronavirus, obviously, it shouldn't be life threatening for me, but it's the people around you. It's the transmission. It's my mom and dad, Chris's mom and dad, the people close to us. It's just the responsibility level that we all have to be aware of, and if someone gets it in this locker room behind us, passes it on to someone else unknown and they take it home to their family, surrounding people that come in contact with them, it's just irresponsible.

Q. Obviously this tournament contributes to so many charities. Any concern about the ripple effect?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: There's so much ripple effect to what's going on in the world right now. You only have to look at the financial markets, the fear that's out there in the world. You know, of course what the PGA TOUR do for charity is second to none in any other sport, and I'm sure there will be a concerted effort to make sure that we try and do our best going forward. But you know, obviously we have to focus on what the most important thing is right now, and that is trying to be safe. And I'm sure we'll continue our phenomenal support by the PGA TOUR of, especially, local charities here in the Jacksonville area.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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