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July 12, 2008

Graeme McDowell


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Great finish, you're in a great position, your thoughts on the day going into tomorrow.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I mean, really going right there, 3- , 4-under par really nice to shoot five. Played really solid again and kept hitting fairways and greens and obviously must be 10 or 12 players with a chance of winning tomorrow so will be nice to be in the mix.

Q. How much is the Ryder Cup be in your mind?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Try not to look in the future at all. Obviously it's tough not to in a Ryder Cup year, obviously British Open looming next week. Very, very important, I worked very hard with various people to really try to focus on this week. This is really all I can control. Really have to try to play as well as I possibly cannot present. There's a lot of guys who want to be on that team and are playing hard to be on and it's nice to be in the mix and that's really all I've got right now, all I can do is just keep doing what I'm doing and I'm having a great season.
So if I get in, it's fantastic, but I'm still having a great season so I've just got to keep punching away and that's really how I'm trying to view it anyway.

Q. Can we get the details?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, 11, I hit a great 4-iron in there at 11, a really good shot to about eight feet I guess and a 9-iron to 12.
3-putted 13. Left myself a bit of a funny number in there. I was trying to take the spin off something and ended up spinning it more.
Got it straight back at the next, front edge on 14, I was trying to hit it off the right half of the green and the wind never touched it and I hit it really well and I haven't seen the replay, but made the putt coming back and that was pretty nice.

Q. How far?
GRAEME McDOWELL: That was probably eight feet, left-to-right. Again at the last, it was nice to get it back after a bogey on 17.

Q. What would a win mean here --
GRAEME McDOWELL: You know, it would be pretty nice, after working hard, winning is special. It's a special feeling. We all like a taste of -- looking at the leaderboard, I'm not really going to be focused hard on who is one back, two ahead, whatever, I have to go and play my own game tomorrow. The last few holes are probably one of the best finishes in European golf. Really love this place. It rewards good play, and generous fairways but you have to hit them, and generous greens, but again, you've got to hit them. It's just a great venue.

Q. (Having a lot of chances, will that be an advantage)?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I think it helps me going out tomorrow. I've been in the mix and it takes a little bit of dealing with, being in contention a lot. I feel very comfortable there now, obviously last group, both days last weekend, so I've been in the mix and being in the last group.
My game, I'm happy with what I'm doing and I know where my bad shops come from and I'm pretty on top of things and my short game is getting better. Don't feel like I'm rolling the greens very well, so hopefully I can work on that tomorrow afternoon and looking forward to it. It's nice to have a few weeks in a row where I've been kind of up there and in the mix. It's something I've been striving for.

Q. (Do you work with anybody)?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I work with Dr. Karl Morris, I have done for five and six years on and off, and sports psychologist is always something I've had since my late teens when I started to play competitively and it's something I'm a big believer.
The brain is a weird, wonderful thing and you can conjure up the most negative thoughts you can ever imagine, and obviously the top players in the world -- still thinking about hitting it in the water. You've got to learn to deal with that and be able to switch back onto what we're trying to do, and I'll work hard with Karl on my pre-shot routine and things like that and obviously talking long and hard about the media questions about The Ryder Cup and how I'm going to deal with that and keeping my focus back in the present. It's important to know what's going to come and how to deal with it, and it's just something that I spend a couple of hours a month with him and have a bit of a chat.

Q. Talking about The Ryder Cup -- (laughter). The prize money tomorrow is very large and could potentially -- you must be thinking about that?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It's in the back of my mind, but I've got to go play golf tomorrow. It's not going to change things. Ryder Cup or no Ryder Cup, I've got to go out there and give it my best shot tomorrow. Obviously if I win tomorrow, I realise what that would mean but it isn't going to help me hit any shots tomorrow.
Like I said, stay in the present, one of those weird ones that I don't know how to do very well. I'm not really putting extra pressure on myself. I've got chances and I'm getting better and improving and that makes me happy. So it's not going to be the be-all end-all for me.

Q. (Regarding links golf experience).
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I think I have a slightly -- we don't play much links golf was professionals. I reckon the British Open -- I guess I've just been gaining my experience the last three or four years in majors, and they are different animals. The golf course is very tricky, very difficult and very mentally demanding. After the first round at St. Andrews, made an 8 on 17 on Saturday and felt like I've earned my experience now.
I had a quick trip to Birkdale a few weeks ago and liked what I saw. I think the short game comes back to me quickly, my links short game I think it's always been there. I think when you grow up with it, it's in your blood and links golf comes back quickly. I played a lot during my week off at Ballybunion, so probably have a bit more of an advantage than most guys in that I do play quite a lot of links golf when I go home so hopefully I'll slip back into the old links mode.

Q. (Regarding preparation for The Open).
GRAEME McDOWELL: I've love to be in Harrington's position where I can take a week off and not really need the points and prepare for next week. Yeah, I'm certainly going to be at the British Open trying to win next week, but a win here or top three or five here is as important to me as a Top-5 or Top-10 next week.
Points are key, and I've scheduled myself nicely and obviously I agree it's not ideal preparation for the British Open, but there's no magic formula. I'll be pitching up next week and trying to prepare myself for Birkdale. First and foremost, I'm going to give it my best shot here tomorrow.

Q. (Regarding first experience in Ryder Cup).
GRAEME McDOWELL: I was on-course commentator for BBC, so I punished myself with a 14-hour day schedule watching the stuff realising I should have been there. So, yeah, it was a heady experience, my first-ever Ryder Cup.

Q. Can you talk about Darren Clarke not playing in The Open next week?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, Darren's one of the top players in Europe and has been for a very long time.
As a fellow Northern Irishman, disappointing not to have him in the field. He's been up there contending a few times, and, yeah, it's always horrible to see calibre of players like that who struggle with their game a little bit, but he's a talented enough guy, he'll come through. Sometimes you need a real kind of kick up the rear to kind of get your motivation back and get your focus back, and who knows, missing The Open might be something that he might react very well to and kind of come out the other side. Obviously he's a very talented player.
Yeah, I sat at home the last two majors this year, and I don't think I've played a major since the British Open last year, so been a year for me. It hurt; it hurts when you're sitting at home watching your colleagues and compatriots playing the best tournaments in the world and it hurts to look at it.

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