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September 10, 2008

Graeme McDowell


SCOTT CROCKETT: Graeme, thanks, as always, for coming in and joining us and welcome to the Mercedes-Benz Championship, beginning of a couple big weeks for you, next week is on your mind but this week must be on your behind trying to put in a good performance.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Absolutely. The golf course setup is absolutely perfect. I couldn't think of a better week coming to prepare myself for next week. I've had some time off and no doubt coming in this week trying to get as much work on done my game as I can. I have my coach here and Karl Morris coming in tonight; looking to get all the work done this week, and make sure I go over there next week with my game intact.
And certainly taking nothing away from this week; it's a golf course I've played well here in the past. I'll certainly be giving it everything, and I can say that the golf course is absolutely perfect, ideal preparation for next week. The greens are pure, and I think it's in many ways a very similar course setup perhaps to what we might see next week.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Having a couple of weeks off, is that always the plan after making the team, and just preparing for this week and next?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, obviously we give it such a big run from April, May, right through the PGA, and I really kind of set my schedule up to work hard from June through the PGA. And obviously if I had to take in any of the Scandinavian KLM and Gleneagles, I was going to do that. And luckily I was able to take a couple of weeks off, played Gleneagles briefly, and had last week off. It's been a relaxing few weeks, coming in here feeling mentally quite fresh and ready to go and enjoying the preparations and looking forward to the weekend really.

Q. Was there a lot of talk last week about The Ryder Cup?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I mean, you know, I played a lot of golf in Ireland last week. It's quite amazing how many people were wishing me well on the team. People are excited about it. It's amazing. It's amazing how we regard The Ryder Cup over here in Europe, Britain, Ireland. We're right up for it and we love it and people are unbelievably supportive of the team. I've had so many people come up to me in the last couple of weeks wishing me well.
Apart from that, not really. Obviously it's been a nice, relaxing couple of weeks off for me, and I really haven't done a huge amount, apart from just played a lot of golf in and around the north coast. I had some friends in from the States and we just travelled around and played golf together, and it was a pretty chilled out week.

Q. When do you think the nerves might start to kick in, will it be Monday getting on the plane or when you actually get there?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yes, I would imagine that it would be perhaps the first time I get to the golf course and see the crowds and see the golf course and realise that this is really going to happen.
You know, obviously a lot to think about next week. There's a lot going on in and around the whole event, picking teams and the whole ceremonies and all of the gala dinners and stuff. You know, I'm certainly going to be going there with the attitude that I'm going to try to soak it up and enjoy every second of it. I've worked so hard to get on the team. I'm certainly to the going to go there and really try to feel a lot of pressure on myself and such.
I'm nervous, and think I'm playing well, and if I have two games or three games or four games or whatever I get, certainly I'll be loving every second of the time that I spend playing the match. Like I said, I'm working hard this week on getting my preparation and feeling good about my game.
Like I said, this is ideal this week. And I think we have a golf course that's going to make for some good scoring, and confidence is going to be pretty high going out there next week.
Yeah, no doubt there's going to come a time when I'm going to be pretty nervous this week, I'm fully aware of that, and I guess that's part of the excitement of it all really. I suppose I'm looking forward to that and being on the tee Friday morning and hopefully putting a peg on the ground.

Q. The captain has said that he'll listen to the players on their views on who they would like to play with; can you let us into any secrets on what you're thinking about a partner?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I think, probably with along another ten players on the team, would love to play with Padraig. He's pretty much the best player in the world at the minute I would throw out there.
I think if I got a game with Padraig and Sergio, perhaps I could get thrown in a couple more times. I imagine everyone on the team wants to play as much as they possibly can before Sunday. I think Padraig is the obvious choice for me, but I'm sure Nick has his own ideas.
To be honest with you, I looked down the list and there is not a guy on the team I wouldn't want to tee them up with I have to say. I know them all and they are all my good friends and I know their games really well. I have to say I would be excited to play with anyone. But I would imagine he'll go with a mix of experience. He's mentioned obviously that he's looking to guys like Westwood and Garcia and Harrington to I guess put an arm around some of the younger players, so I guess he might go with that theory.
Looking at that, he might split Westwood and Garcia up; I hope he doesn't because I think they are a great team together, but maybe look at splitting those guys up. I feel like I get on well with Sergio. Played with him a couple of times this year. I don't know if I could handle the amount of emotion that he throws out there in the matches, but maybe it would be something that would be pretty cool, as well, and would be a great experience.
Like I say, Padraig is the obvious. I'd play with any of those boys, though. We have such a strong team and I know everyone's game so well, I would go out there and tee it up with anybody really.

Q. So either Harrington or Garcia, you're not asking for much there, are you, picking all best ones for yourself.
GRAEME McDOWELL: I don't think I'll be alone in those choices, no doubt about it that. Looking down the board, we have been toying with ideas the last few days, trying to match the players together. There's not a huge amount of obvious pairings that I can see. Maybe Stenson/Karlsson perhaps; Westwood/Garcia is obvious, but will he split those up? After that it becomes quite difficult; who would Miguel play with. It's a tough team to put together.
Nick has a tough job on his hands, and I just hope we play well come Thursday next week, and it's going to make his job a little easier. I will be looking forward to getting over there and taking some form with me. We have only four guys teeing it up this week which I'm interested by, but everyone has their own ideas of how they like to prepare. I'm a guy who likes to play more into a bit of form.
I'm looking forward to seeing how things pan out at the end of the day. I can only tell Nick how I'm playing and who I would like to play with. Certainly one thing he said to me on the phone last week is he's wanting some input from us. He said that his second Ryder Cup, he went there and wasn't playing well and he said to the captain, listen -- maybe Jacklin, I can't remember who he mentioned. But he said: I don't have my game this week and I'm not playing well, and leave me out of the first day.
And he said: "You know, that's kind of what I want to hear from you guys. I want to hear if you're playing well, tell me and if you're not playing well, certainly I want to hear that, as well." Certainly sounds like he's going to be interested in our input and I'm sure he'll put a great team together.

Q. Would you prefer to see more of your teammates here or do you think as you said that Padraig said he needed a week off, and he's been in America for a while; Sergio is in America and makes sense for him to stay there rather than come back for one week; but would you like to see more players here?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Like I say, it's the end of a very long run for everyone, especially guys who have gone straight from the PGA to the FedEx series. Everyone has played a huge amount of golf. I understand, I've been lucky enough when I look at guys like Søren and Ollie and guys that had to grind coming down the stretch the last few weeks, and I can understand if they wanted a few weeks off.
Everybody has their own ideas on how they like to prepare. As I say, I'm here because this is how I like to prepare for a big week, and certainly there's no need for The European Team to be having some kind of get-together here. Everyone needs to rest and do what they need to do for their own game, and we'll have plenty of time for preparation next week, I would imagine.

Q. With all your experience over in America, that's obviously going to be a huge help to not only you but to the team, as well, a little bit of tittle-tattle for the players.
GRAEME McDOWELL: For sure. I think that's one of the biggest things that's changed about The Ryder Cup is the amount of experience that we have on American soil nowadays.
I think maybe 20 years ago, listening to what some of the guys, say the Woosies and Lyles, and how little they played in the States compared to how much we play now. I think that's made a huge different difference. We are now competitive when we go over there.
You just look at the stats the last five years, Europeans winning on American soil, winning tournaments, winning majors, Harrington obviously winning the PGA, I think that says a lot about how comfortable we are now in America. We know the boys obviously so well, and we are playing against them a lot more often now.
And you know, obviously I played college golf with a couple of the guys on the team, as well, so I know the boys really. Well so I think from that point of view, it's 24, 23 players, apart from myself, I know them all so well. I don't think I'll be intimidated in any shape or form.
Like I say, I've played enough golf with these guys to feel comfortable and know on my day I can beat any of them. I think the comfort level with the players and with the golf courses nowadays, I think that's why Europe have been as competitive as they have in the last five to ten years.

Q. Going back a while now, but obviously at '99 in Brookline was the last time that people didn't play before the singles at least once. Would you expect sort of everybody to play at least once before the singles this time around like's happened the last couple of tournaments?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, 12 guys playing well on Thursday, there's absolutely no reason why everybody doesn't get a game by Sunday. It's been well documented the mistakes made at Brookline. I think we've got a great team. I think the two wildcard picks are guys that are really great, great competitive players, maybe not displaying the kind of form that they would like to be displaying lately. But Poulter, obviously second at The Open; I don't really know much about how Paul has been playing this year, but I take it he's been playing pretty solid the last couple of months.
I don't think we have any weak links on the team, and I think we have a team with a lot of depth, a lot of young, young players with a lot of heart who are really going to be up for it next week, and I can't see any particular reason why anybody would be left out Friday and Saturday. I'm sure Nick will be keen to get guys out there and get them ready to go on Sunday. I'm certainly hoping to get three or four games in next week. I'm certainly not going out there to sit on the bench, that's for sure.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Thanks a lot, Graeme. Good luck this week.

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