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February 1, 2008

Graeme McDowell


Q. Satisfied or frustrated with 72? Looked for a while like it might be better?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I guess in the end, a little frustrated it, but if you offered me level par after a couple holes this morning, I'd probably jumped at it.
You know, before we went out to play this morning, it looked like it was going to be really, really difficult. The wind was very gusty and kind of funny, once you got out there, they soft end the greens up a bit and there was a few chances out there. Generally I hit the ball pretty well and kept it to the correct side of the pins and I guess I really shouldn't be disappointed with level par, but it feels that way a little bit right now.

Q. How much did your links upbringing help you today in these early conditions, particularly?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I mean, don't get a chance to play a whole lot really in winds that strong anymore, but I guess you do kind of revert back to the shots that you used growing up and stuff, and yeah, certainly controlling your ball flight and keeping it low and drawing it against the wind and cutting up against it, you've really got to do that.
And obviously fairways are huge out there, so you really have to drive the ball well, and that's really what I've done the last two days. Really pleased with the way I've driven it, and putted nicely.

Q. What's most difficult aspect of the conditions?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, just controlling your ball flight. There's a lot of really tough crosswind tee shots, and long holes, as well. So you're standing there knowing you have to hit it in the fairway and you really have to commit to your targets and just hit it out into the wind and believe that it's going to come back.
The technology is unbelievable. This Callaway ball seems to cut unbelievably through the wind so that's been a major advantage the last couple of days and this morning, anyway.

Q. Which one is it?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It's the Tour ix.

Q. Just using it this year?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Just put it in play the last couple of events, yeah. It's pretty impressive.

Q. Has the wind dropped a bit?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Said that a few times. I was thinking, I hope, obviously, you don't wish any bad on the guys this afternoon, but we've had the rough this morning and you're hoping it doesn't drop for them this afternoon.
But as soon as you say it feels like it's laid down, the next thing it's blowing about 40 again. So it's just really gusty. I think that's probably the only way to describe it. The second you think it's laid down, it starts blowing harder than it has all morning.

Q. And what's it like eating sand for four hours?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, it's like you play golf, you get a free exfoliation with it, don't you. That's pretty impressive, playing golf in a sandblaster.
Yeah, you've got sand in your mouth and eyes, it's not pleasant. But they did a good job. They were wetting the sound out there this morning to keep it blowing in the fairways. I saw them out there with the hoses and stuff and they softened the greens up a little bit.
So the tournament, I think they deserve a lot of credit. The greens are very quick still and they slowed them down just enough to where obviously there was no problems out there this morning and play was able to continue and I think they did a good job.

Q. Depending where Tiger is this afternoon, happy enough with where you are?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, like I say, a fraction frustrated with level par, but, you know, disappointment is probably the wrong work. Hung in there and made some key putts, and I would have liked to have made that in the last and felt like I squeezed something out of the round today. Obviously be interesting to see what Tiger and the rest of the guys at 5-under do this afternoon.

Q. He's dropped a shot on the first.

Q. Keys to the round?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I bogeyed the first and then birdied two and three right afterwards. That was nice, so they had to come flying off. I made a really good putt on 2 and hit a good chip on 3 and made birdie and got me going a bit. Made some key up-and-downs, as well. My short game was been proving as well the last six months, and even in the wind today, the ball was really, really, really pure on them. I like the way they look. Hopefully I can make some putts over the weekend.

Q. Good things around the corner?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah I finished last year on such a good note, if anything, I came out this year with too much expectations perhaps. I got frustrated the first couple of weeks and especially last weekend in Qatar. But yeah, I feel things are ticking over nicely. I'm driving the ball well. Everything just feels good.
So, nice to be -- obviously hope the weather gives us a little chance to give Tiger a run for his money this weekend. Just night to be on the sharp end of a proper event like this one early in the season, gets the competitive juices flowing.

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