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June 11, 2009

Graeme McDowell


PHIL STAMBAUGH: Graeme McDowell, fine 4 under par 66, low round posted right now in the afternoon. A bit it breezy out there. You came in with a nice round.
GRAEME McDOWELL: I mean, seems like everyday we've been here this week the breeze picks up round 11:30, 12:00, and I played late in the Pro-Am yesterday afternoon. I was kind of expecting the little bit of breeze today. It's been blowing generally the same direction. I've been hitting it pretty well in practice. It was nice to go out there and make a few putts and post a good number.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Could you go over your round. If you made any good saves to keep it going.
GRAEME McDOWELL: I bogeyed 10 off the bat. Birdied 16 up the hill. Up and down out of the front trap there. 18 kind of got my run going. Hit 3-wood off the tee and run into the fairway into the trap. Hit a good 7-iron there to 8 feet and made that one and I birdied one, too. Really good save on 3.
Actually par 5. I hit my tee shot left in the trees there and kind of had to clip out and 5-iron in the bunker and blasted out. Birdied 5 and 6. Had a wedge into 6, 5-iron into 5. Bogeyed 7. Hit it kind of under the lip of the trap there.
Generally I played really solid golf today. I think my stats said I only hit five fairways, but I actually felt like I drove the ball a bit better than that. This golf course is kind of firm and fiery. It's a premium on accuracy for sure. It's the first time I've seen it.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: You mentioned out there with the TV locals you were a bit jet-lagged coming in here.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah. I got here Sunday night, but I mean you kind of shake the jet lag after a couple days. 7:00 tee time tomorrow morning. I've been waking up pretty early this week. Shouldn't be a problem for me. Been sleeping early and waking up pretty early.
The jet lag is good when you fly west but something we're pretty used to in Europe. Part of the reason why it was great that the tournament give me an invite this week, helped me really get my game ready for next week. I've been using this week as a preparation week. Obviously great to be on the leaderboard early and get a bit of confidence this weekend and give it a bit of a round.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Go to questions.

Q. "Shins blitz." You don't hear that one everyday. You shot some absolutely out-of-your-skull score like Thursday or Friday, career best or course record and you couldn't finish it off.
GRAEME McDOWELL: "Shins blitz," something I've kind of not really struggled with in my career, but I've kind of had -- I don't know if any of you guys run or run down hills. Sometimes you kind of get a little bit of a tightness through your shins. I kind of had it in the past before, but nothing quite like this one.
Thursday morning early, cold, wet, miserable in Ireland as usual. I kind of come jog off the tee box, real elevated tee box, and put a lot of pressure on my front right foot. A couple holes later I felt a lot of tightness.
This is my usual. I'm pretty used to this. It progressively got worse and worse and worse, to the point where I ended up withdrawing on the Saturday of the Irish Open. Came off the Pro-Am on a Wednesday the following week in really bad shape, and the European Tour doctor told me not the play the next day. He was kind of worried, stress fractures and all kinds of things.
I had an MRI on the Thursday afternoon at Wentworth, and turned out to be a second degree tear of my lower right anterior tibialis. It was a pretty bad tear. One that we had to be pretty careful of for a couple weeks.
I have to say my recovery has been really good. It's the first week I've felt fit since. I kind of limped around the European Open a little bit and had a nice week off last week just resting.

Q. Which leg?
A My right leg it was. I was really, really sore walking on it. Wasn't nice at all. The conditions in Ireland were very cold and wet, and it wasn't good at all. Like I say, I played Wentworth on the European Open with a lot of strapping on my right ankle and foot area, trying to limit the movement, painkillers, obviously, and a fair bit of discomfort there, to be honest with you. I felt great this week.

Q. You shot 62 or something.
GRAEME McDOWELL: I shot 61 on Friday. Kind of limped round the back-9 there. I wasn't in huge amounts of pain but kind of got worse and worse as the week went on. Sixty-one you don't feel any pain anyways.

Q. Less walking with 61.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Exactly. Kind right down the middle of the fairway. That was easy.

Q. I presume you're not running off any more tee boxes?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I have to say it's a bad habit of mine. I get excited and running off the front of tee boxes. I think that's over for me now. I'm definitely going to have to chill out. I'm hitting 30 years old next month. I'm going to have to relax a little bit.

Q. Did you not stop in Florida on the way here at all?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I really thought about it, but due to the injury and some bits and bobs, I was cutting down on my practice schedule a little bit, and I thought about swinging through Orlando just to check if my house was still standing. I ended up just hanging out for a few days.

Q. Could have watched those guys die in the qualifier on Monday?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Lake Nona, weren't they? Pretty hot down there. This is pretty steamy up here as well. I figure it's good preparation for next week for the fitness levels and concentration levels in general. I was hoping to play in Austria this week and Europe and kind of switched that event. They were struggling for a sponsor and lost their slot and stuff.
Bit of a last minute request to come here and really, really happy that the sponsors and the Tournament Director decided to give me an invite here. I'm really happy to have the chance to prepare and really, really happy when I saw the golf course. I thought it was beautifully set up, certainly interesting part of the world. It's nice.

Q. Because you live in Orlando, is there a thought to play more American events to cut down on your travel because you bounce back and forth now for awhile?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah. You know, I took my PGA TOUR card in 2006 but discovered that maybe I wasn't ready. I guess my major goals were to get in the Ryder Cup team and to play Ryder Cups and compete well in Majors, and Europe certainly has been a better turf for me last few years.
I'm certainly looking to get back out there in the next few years for sure. Orlando is a base for me but Ireland is home for me. I travel a lot. I'm a single guy. I guess I don't really have a home as such. I'm a bit nomadic. I do like to travel around a little bit. I would like to settle and maybe come back here and play a bit more in the States in years to come.

Q. How did a guy from Ireland end up with UAB?
GRAEME McDOWELL: There was an Irish player already there who put me in touch with the coach. How he got there, that's another question. No idea. I think it was completely random. It was interesting playing with Heath Slocum. He went to South Alabama, and his caddy was from that part of the world. Couple of my teammates are from Tennessee. They're going to come up this weekend. It will be cool to see them.

Q. Was that culture shock for you to jump into a place with barbeque and Alabama football?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, it was a culture shock. My first time in the States as well. Actually funny enough, the first time I ever flew out here to the States, Memphis was my first port-of-call. I guess this city was the first city I ever came to in America, because I remember I spent -- I missed my connecting flight and had some trouble with Immigration.

Q. Spent more time here than you thought?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I ended up spending more time here. It's a little bit of funny kind of connection. Certainly Alabama was a culture shock from a guy from a small town in Ireland for sure. With some great golf courses down there, I spent three years at UAB.
Certainly made the difference in my game. It -- it got me ready for the pro ranks for sure. I went out there pretty average player and came back something a little different, so it was great.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Okay. Anything else? Continued good luck. Thank you.

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