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November 24, 2009

Graeme McDowell

Rory McIlroy


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Graeme, Rory, thank you for joining us. Thoughts on playing for the Ireland?
RORY McILROY: Looking forward to it. It's going to be a lot of fun. It's a lot different than what we are used to, and you know, we played together once before in the Seve Trophy and we enjoyed our time on the golf course and we obviously played well as a team. We gelled pretty well, so I think we are both really looking forward to this week and we are giving it our best shot.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Graeme, maybe elaborate on that partnership, an enjoyable week.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, it was an enjoyable week.
I enjoyed myself in this golf tournament last year, myself and Paul McGinley. Over the last couple of years I've gotten to know Rory very well. The energy levels in the partnership and the way you gel on the golf course is how well you play, really. And I think you can kind of inspire each other a little bit and certainly did that in the Seve Trophy. Obviously looking for a bit of that going on this week.
Rory is playing great, and I feel like I'm playing pretty good as well. Obviously get off to a good start and get ourselves in the mix, we feel like we can do pretty well this week.

Q. You mentioned the different challenge. How easy is it to stay motivated, end of The Race to Dubai and stuff like that, close finish there; how easy is it to stay motivated at the end of the season for this type of challenge?
RORY McILROY: Very easy. I want to play the best I can for my partner. I don't want to let him down. So you know, obviously we are playing for our country which is a huge honour. I don't think there would be any reason why you wouldn't be motivated.
It's a new challenge for me. Graeme has played here before, and you know, I think, yeah, I'm really looking forward to it. It's my first taste of the World Cup, and, yeah, I don't think there should be any reason why I shouldn't be motivated. I'm going to go out there and give it my best shot and it would be a great title to win.

Q. Following up from that, do you feel any sort of pressure? Because you're obviously one of the favourite teams going into this tournament. Do you feel some extra pressure? And do you welcome that? Will that inspire you?
GRAEME McDOWELL: For sure. There's a lot of good teams here this week obviously, but we know we are one of the favourites coming in.
Obviously you have no given right to be competing this week. You've still got to go out and play the golf, and we are going to obviously focus hard on the right attitude and obviously go out and try and have a good time at the weekend. It says a lot about Rory, to be able to get himself up for this week. He's obviously disappointed from last week but I know we'll get on well this week and I know we'll have a good time.
We are both playing great golf, so it's just a matter of going out there and doing it and keeping the energy levels going and keeping the MoJo going.

Q. Other than discussing about the horse race in Hong Kong, what else do you do together, other than golf?
RORY McILROY: (Laughter). I don't know, I mean, obviously we live quite close together. So we are going to try and whatever we get home over Christmas, we'll play a couple of rounds of golf together, maybe go out for a few drinks. Apart from that, I mean, we just sort of -- I think we spend so much time together on Tour, it's nice to get away from each other for a couple of weeks.
GRAEME McDOWELL: We always end up travelling together, as well. Being based up in Belfast, we share the odd flight here and there and we see quite a lot of each other. Hopefully the relationship lasts the week, anyway. (Laughter).
RORY McILROY: And I have got my tennis racquet with me. So G-Mac says he's going to try to --
GRAEME McDOWELL: Get my game up to shape. Play some tennis.

Q. This week?

Q. You bring a racquet?
RORY McILROY: I travel with it. Bring it everywhere.

Q. You play different places in the last four or five weeks; how have you managed to keep your body physically and mentally adjusted from Shanghai to, Hong Kong to Dubai to here, everywhere?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I don't know. I love playing golf. You know, and especially this week, having a partner like Graeme here. If I'm feeling a little tired or a little, you know, I need a little push, I've got a partner here to keep me going, which is great.
But you know, I love -- yeah, I love competing. I love the buzz and the thrill of being in a position to win golf tournaments. That's what I practise so hard for. That's what Graeme worked so hard for, as well, was to feel that buzz on the weekend.
You know, there's nothing more that I would like this week than if we were both to get into contention and really share the experience of trying to win this golf tournament together.

Q. You have already announced you will play on both tours next year. Will that affect any chance of maybe winning The European Tour Race to Dubai next year?
RORY McILROY: I hope not. You know, I think I played 25 events on The European Tour this year. I'll probably play -- I'll play a little less than that next year definitely.
But hopefully I'll be a better golfer this time next year than I am now, so I'd like to think that I can give myself the best chance to win on both tours.
But I mean, it's going to be -- obviously no one has done it before, but you know, as I said the last couple of weeks, I made that decision because I wanted to become a better golfer, and the best way to do that is to play against the best players in the world every week. Sometimes that's in Europe. Sometimes it's in America.

Q. How many events are you looking forward to playing in the States next year?
RORY McILROY: I'll probably play 15 or 16.

Q. So your total events will probably be more than this year?
RORY McILROY: No, I'll play less. I'll definitely play less than I have this year.

Q. What would it mean for each of you to pick up the World Cup on Sunday?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It would mean a lot. It's one of the special tournaments in golf. We play a lot of individual golf obviously but getting a chance to play with a partner and representing your country and some of the great champions that have won this tournament, it would be a special feeling. And like Rory said, a great chance to experience being in the hunt coming down the stretch with a partner, and sharing that experience will be pretty cool. And there's a lot of great teams playing this week. It would certainly mean a lot to me, and I'm sure Rory feels the same way.

Q. You played last year here, so you have a lot more experience. Rory, this is your first trip to the Olazábal Course. You'll be the one doing most of the guiding, more or less like a tour guide, telling him where to hit, where not to go?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, for sure. Obviously we both played a lot of golf the last three or four weeks, so we decided not to play any practise rounds today, just to chill out and hit balls a little bit.
Yeah, I know the golf course pretty well obviously so I'll certainly be showing Rory around a little bit tomorrow. But he's an experienced guy and he's got an experienced caddie on the bag and one look at the golf course should be plenty.
Obviously it's better-ball on Thursday, as well, so it's a slightly less pressure format. But I would imagine one look at this golf course, it's a pretty straightforward golf course. I think there's three or four key tee shots out there but once he sees those and gets the hang of those, it's a straightforward golf course to get around.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Good luck the rest of the week.

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