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July 3, 2008

Graeme McDowell


SCOTT CROCKETT: Many thanks for coming in and joining us, as always. A fantastic performance, reflect on the day.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I think he was gutted to get -- after the Pro-Am, but here he comes, kind of picked up a few things on my putting stroke that I didn't like the look of yesterday and worked on that, so it was good.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Starting off with the birdies.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah that was kind of a surprise, the first three or four holes, the wind was very tough and the I saw Sergio walking by five or six, and he said, Ross at 9-under par -- and birdieing 8 and 9 -- so 7-under par, that's a really good score. On this golf course, the par 5s are reachable.
Hit it in the back and -- I only had seven yards left to six feet and bogeyed the -- and missed the putt, and 5-iron and hit it to 15 feet. It was pretty hot, and on the fairway -- it's quite gusty and quite strong, certainly and so possibly level par isn't going to be good enough.
And you know, I think it did certainly -- it's certainly once you get an idea of how the course is playing, so you can see how guys are making birdies, and especially on a tough, windy day like today. So I think it helps the attitude.

Q. Recently with your long play --
GRAEME McDOWELL: And like I said, we spoke a lot in France, and letting it happen, and it was nice to obviously get off to a fast start in a tournament like this with this kind of field, and like I said, I've been playing well for three or four or five weeks now, and hopefully I can string a few more together.

Q. After Korea, what did you expect to kick on or how quickly did you think you were going to move on; did it take a little while to get going again?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I didn't play a lot of golf, I think I played like three weeks off and finished fifth in Beijing and Shanghai, and two took weeks off then, so a little bit disjointed year. I did not punch in a Top-5, and then an 8 in Austria and 15th last week.
So yeah, I'm disappointed I've not been in contention more on Sunday afternoon. I took a bit of time off trying to get myself ready for the season and I've been pretty happy, mentally and physically fresh and for this part of the season and I'm bringing in some good form and I'm feeling really good about my game and very rarely at this time of the season and physically and mentally, because we play a lot of golf and we travel a lot, and I guess after Korea, I guess maybe I haven't pushed on the way I wanted to.
But I didn't play a whole lot of consistent golf. I took a lot of time off getting ready for now, so I guess now I'm happy with what I've done.

Q. You've constantly said that making The Ryder Cup Team is your big goal for 2008. Is that a good thing or is there a danger that you could place too much emphasis on that perhaps?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I'll trying to take the emphasis off The Ryder Cup, because the 5-iron I'm hitting to 17 today -- in the big picture, I think I'm just focusing day by day and I'm not really looking beyond Sunday of The European Open right now. So all I can do is stay in the present and try to play my own.
Game. I talked long and hard with my caddie and coach and manager about getting on The Ryder Cup Team, but the end of the day, I'm going to give it my best shot. If I get picked, I get picked and if I don't, I don't. I'm still having a great year and going the right direction and very happy with the things I'm doing.
Like I said, it's still a tough race and the race is really only just beginning and we're near the meat and bones of the season, and I know I have to perform, and I'm pretty happy. Like I said I'm coming into with some good form right now.

Q. In the past, scheduling, it looks like --
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, scheduling, obviously a lot of players coming in -- scheduling, it's really taken my five years to get my head around what a proper schedule should look like as far as managing your time, keeping yourself fresh and getting into a tournament week wanting to play well every week and feeling like you're there for the right seasons and I've never got there thinking I'm tired, and I don't want to be here and I don't want to play this week.
So that's something that's taken a long time to learn and I really feel like I've done well this season, maybe the only downside is not having a lot of golf to play after Korea when I'm playing good, and like I said, took a few weeks off and trying to find good form.
Apart from that, feeling really good, and you know, feeling pretty set and I'm playing really well, so it's been a good year and hopefully my management team can carry this forward. Scheduling's tough and for every player it's different.

Q. Now that you're in this sort of key part of the year, what sort of tricks do you do to keep yourself fresh while the tournaments are coming as fast as they are?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Probably not spending too much time on the range, not too much golf. Try to get as much rest and relax as much as possible on the weeks off and hopefully that works.
Not too much messing around on the putting green and range out there, because it's very easy -- just try and get on as much as possible. Playing too much golf -- not working on too many things and it's pretty much maintenance.

Q. Have you seen The Ryder Cup standings?
GRAEME McDOWELL: No, I haven't looked at it in weeks. I have to go out there and perform and I know that I have to. I need to putt in at least a couple of good performances, and I can't control what the rest of the guys do, I can only control what I'm doing.
My schedule is set up to the PGA, I might then look and see what I'm up to, might have to come and play Sweden or Gleneagles. You know, those are the three that I may have to play, but we'll take it as it comes.

Q. Last time The European Open was played at The K Club, can you compare the two courses?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I really like this golf course, I think it's great. The condition of the golf course is fantastic. The greens are running really well. With the wind today, it makes -- you've really got to keep the ball on the fairway, and the wispy rough, if you can keep out of that, obviously there's not a lot of rough around, and if you get in there, it's hard enough to find. It's a nice-looking track.

Q. How many practise rounds?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I played two. I played on Monday and I played yesterday.

Q. Ross had none.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Amazing how it works, isn't it. It's pretty amazing.
His caddie would have walked it and sometimes it can really help -- I played 18 holes yesterday and it's a pretty straightforward course. There's not too many hidden tricks, bounces and clubs, it's straightforward. There are a lot of birdie chances and it's reflected in the scores, even on a tough blustery day like today.

Q. In recent years, when a player shoots a round like that first round, they have a great deal of trouble coming anywhere in it in the second round. What's the difficulty of doing that?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I think that you're always comparing what you did to the day before, I made birdie here yesterday and I just made bogey and all of a sudden you start panicking. You know, it's always very difficult to follow up something like that, and then the next day, that's just one of the beauties of the game isn't it.
Like I say, I think it's probably something to do with the fact that you start panicking and you don't make your six birdies in a row like you did the day before or something, but hopefully I'll be able to put a low one out tomorrow morning.

Q. When is the last time you felt as good about your game as you do now or over the last three months, certainly right now?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, probably a couple of weeks before I won in Korea, I was feeling pretty good about things. In Malaysia I played very well and got frustrated on the weekend because I could not quite get across the line, and I knew I was playing fantastic. That was the last time I felt this good.
I've probably never really felt this good. I do feel like my technique is improving as the years are going on, and Clyde Tucker has helped me a lot in the last year and a half on my swing and my game, and I think really my clubface and my swing is getting a lot more controllable, and I know what I'm doing and I feel like my game is improving, improving all the time and I've probably never really said this, but certainly in this part of the season before -- like I said, I'm back on the right path again, getting myself back up in the world, and playing the kind of golf I know I can play. So yeah, I'm just very content that I'm keeping improving, which is the key to this game really.

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