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July 4, 2008

Graeme McDowell


RODDY WILLIAMS: Thanks for joining us, a good round today and you followed a good opening round with another good round.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, very much so. It's always difficult to follow up a good day at the office with another one. The fact that the wind was not blowing out there this morning meant that we knew that low scores had to be shot and certainly my goal was to go out there and just keep the foot on the pedal really. I realise that there's probably low numbers to be had this weekend, and the scoring is going to be up there in the potential 20s, so you've got to keep going really.
RODDY WILLIAMS: 12-under at the halfway stage.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I'll take that any week, 12-under par going into the weekend is always a good place to be. Whether it leads or not going into tomorrow, doesn't really matter.
I've positioned myself well with two rounds to go, and I fully expect to be in the mix come Sunday afternoon. I feel like I'm playing well, so just got to keep doing what I'm doing really. I feel like I'm hitting fairways and giving myself plenty of chances and enjoying the greens and reading them well and my speed is good, and that kind of equals a few birdies.

Q. Apart from the birdies, you also made a couple of good par saves, didn't you, on the 5s; can you see why you got yourself in trouble? Were you placing too hard maybe?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, a bad shot, came out and blocked them a little bit to the right. It's a shot I've been working on hard the last four or five weeks, it comes when I'm trying to hit in there a little bit higher and I just came out of a couple iron shots and obviously hit in the water down on 4.
But very important obviously to get the ball up-and-down and keep the momentum going. I was happy to certainly do that there, and obviously I had the exact same shot to 8 and had a horrible lie there in that wispy stuff and it was a good save out of the trap again.
Yeah, disappointed to make 5s on the par 5s from the middle of the fairway, but at the same time, I'm scoring elsewhere on the golf course, and it wasn't too damaging in the end.

Q. Which of the two rounds gave you the more satisfaction, and why?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Probably today. You know, just to come out and follow-up, putt as well as I did today. I knew obviously it was much, much easier out there today, and like I say, it's always important to follow a good round up with another really consolidating round.
Today is giving me a little bit more pleasure because I knew I had to do it. It's a little extra pressure, I suppose, being at the top of the leaderboard and stuff.
Like I say, I don't expect to be leading at the end of today, and I do feel like I'm doing all of the right things as far as getting the ball in play. I've really got some work to do on the range this afternoon regarding the shots I was hitting on the par 5s, but generally my game is in pretty good shape. And the key is I'm holing putts, and the guy who wins on Sunday afternoon is going to have to hole some putts this weekend.

Q. Was there a bit of a private battle out there with you and Sergio?
GRAEME McDOWELL: A bit of banter going on in the group, I have to say. We had a really good time.
I have not played much golf with Sergio. He's one of the few top players in the world I haven't had a chance to play with much, and it was really, really good to play with him the last couple days. He's a top-class ball-striker and a really, really nice guy and has such a relaxed attitude on the golf course that it can only inspire you and help you play well, and it was really, really great to watch him hit it. He's an exceptionally talented player, and we really had a good time playing with each other. He certainly helped me play well, no doubt about it, just as I say, the relaxed atmosphere was really good.

Q. When you make a good start and you want to press on, do you get at all nervous, apprehensive that it might not work out like that?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I'm one of these guys that tries a little too hard sometimes to make it happen, and that's always a bit of a trap. When that starts happening for me, I've got to put the brakes on, stay in the present and really try to hit each shot -- take one shot at a time. I've been a victim of that in the past really, trying to stiff every shot and try to hole every putt.
Frankly out there today, I was holing most putts which was nice, but I've always been -- I work very hard on just trying to accept whatever outcome kind of the course throws out because maybe the end of the day, you're not going to have every shot close to the flag and you have to try to use your short game to get you around sometimes.

Q. And you've addressed that with experts?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, my sports psychologist, I work with Karl Morris, have done on and off for about six years, and I work on it with Cam, who is my amateur sports psychologist, as most good caddies are, and it's something I work on. Just try to be a bit more accepting and you're trying hard and you can certainly try too hard and I'm a victim of that sometimes.

Q. One of the other Irish players recently when asked who he thought was the best driver of the ball in the world, he named Sergio; do you agree with that?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, he's pretty good. Obviously this golf course is not a fair reflection because it's wide off the tee. But he hit a couple impressive-looking least shots the last couple days, especially yesterday. It was very windy; his ball flight control with wind off the tee, he really compresses and he really squeezes the ball, and it's really, really impressive. He's probably not the consistently longest driver of the golf ball that we're seeing, but as far as shaping it around, he's pretty good, no doubt about it. I would put him in the top five in the world, anyway, no doubt.

Q. Do you fear any opponent when you're on a golf course? There seems to be a swagger about you at the moment, a real self-confidence that you believe you can win this golf tournament on Sunday.
GRAEME McDOWELL: You certainly don't try to fear people. I don't fear opponents really. I think the scariest person out on the golf course is probably me really; that's probably the only guy I have to be scared of.
If I'm controlling him, myself, which I do feel like I'm doing right now, I'm controlling my swing and controlling most aspects of my game, I work very hard on the mental side of my game. So I feel like I'm controlling myself well. I can't control what the rest of the guys do. You know, playing with a guy like Sergio the last couple of days, he's capable of doing things like he did today, shooting 64 at a cantor. All I can do is control my own ball.
It's great. I played with nearly all the top players in the world and I feel comfortable in their company. I feel like I've got the game to compete. Yeah, I don't hit it 330 yards like some of the guys do, but I feel like my total game is good enough to compete on most golf courses, and I guess that little bit of confidence helps me feel comfortable in these guys company.

Q. Can you just give us an insight into the banter that you're referring to earlier?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Not really sure if any of the jokes are kind of printable. Obviously Billy and Cam, by caddie, are pretty much best friends and just stories flying around, talking about the tennis, just general jokes and nothing -- a bit of light banter really. A few good stories flying around. Obviously the boys have some great stories and we had few stories floating around, some good stories; I think Sergio was recounting one about Mark Calcavecchia at the Masters a couple years ago. There's a few good stories flying around, but nothing printable.
RODDY WILLIAMS: If you could quickly rattle through the details of your birdies.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, 11 was a 5-iron about 25 feet.
12 was a 3-wood, 3-wood to the front edge. About 70 feet left and managed to leave it 20 short and made that.
15, driver, 6-iron to about 40 feet, two putts.
Bogeyed 17. Tried to hit a cut 4-iron, double crossed it and missed it left, horrible lie and chipped it 15 feet and missed.
2 was like 120-yard pitching wedge to about 12 feet.
No. 4 was the exact same shot, 120-yard pitching wedge to about four feet there.
No. 7 was a nice 7-iron in there. I just kind of hit a couple of not-so-nice looking iron shots on 5 and 6 and made a good swing on 7 and hit it to about 15 feet, nice putt there.
Then obviously not birdieing 8 from the middle of the fairway, disappointed.
Let another one slip by on 9 but generally played well today so no complaints I guess.

Q. How long was 9?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Probably eight feet, thought I hit a good putt but misread it a little bit.

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