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December 6, 2009

Graeme McDowell


DOUG MILNE: Okay. We'd like to welcome Graeme McDowell into the interview room after a very successful tournament. Obviously a last-minute invite at the Chevron World Challenge. Obviously you made the most of it. Wasn't a victory, but certainly you proved your medal out here, and with the win, the best our math shows, you jumped to 38th in the World Golf rankings, clearly enough to earn an invite to the 2010 Masters. Just a few comments on the week in general and then we'll take a few questions.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, a fun week. This is a great golf tournament, great players here. Wonderful golf course. I really enjoyed the week. I mean, you know, it was such a bonus, obviously, to get in here, and obviously the circumstances, we all know why.
You know, it was a bit of a blow for the event, but like I said, I feel very fortunate to be here, and to play as well as I have been playing. This year has been a funny year for me. I just feel like I started to play good the last few months, and I was running out of tournaments really, and it was nice to add another great tournament like this on the schedule and to play as well as I did, very satisfying. And the boost up the world rankings is obviously just huge for me really.
It's been a frustrating year. I've got nothing out of all the work I've put in, and in a funny way this kind of puts a bit of a shine on it and gives me a little something back for all my hard work this year.
DOUG MILNE: Okay. We'll go ahead and open it up for a few questions.

Q. Graeme, did you have any idea what you needed to do to get the Masters invite or did you know before today?
GRAEME McDOWELL: No. I purposely didn't really do the calculations. I mean my manager, Connor there, he obviously did the calculations, how to look at things, but no, I purposely did not really look at it. I didn't want to put myself under any pressure.
Like I said to you guys yesterday, I was certainly playing nothing-to-lose golf this weekend. I just felt fortunate to be here anyway, so I really was going out today just trying to play as well as I possibly could and just see where that left me. You know, count it up afterwards.
I mean a set-up birdie at the last was probably pretty big from a World Rankings point of view, so nice to do that obviously.

Q. You said you had started to play well late. Did you make any changes? What's allowed that to happen? And you obviously feel good about the results.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I mean I just really tried to get technique out of my mind. I became very technical during the season this year. I've never been a technical golfer. Starting to know a little bit too much about positions and what the club's doing and why and blah, blah, blah. I was becoming too knowledgeable about my own swing, and sometimes knowledge can be a bit of a disadvantage. So I really just tried to quiet my mind down a little bit and get back to playing golf.
And the ball started to behave itself, started to work. I'm just shaping the ball around again, and like I say, started to get a bit of feel back in my game.

Q. Do you think in some way the late invite maybe helped you in terms of no expectation, and just kind of coming in here free swinging?
GRAEME McDOWELL: For sure. I mean I had a funny start to the week really. I mean Thursday, you know, I had a very strange kind of feeling, you know. Not that I didn't deserve to be here, or not that I really, you know, felt like my depth or anything, but it was just weird.
You know, sometimes when you find yourself in a golf tournament that you haven't mentally prepared for, you're just kind of -- you're not really sure what's going on. I have to say it took me 48 hours to sort of get my head around what was going on.
The first nine holes on Thursday, I just felt a little bit weird still, and then I kind of -- and then I kind of got going, you know. I played pretty well on the Back 9 on Thursday, and from there I really felt sort of part of the event. But like I say, when you're in an event that you really haven't sort of prepared for, it's very difficult to get the mindset tuned in.

Q. Graeme, was there a point today when you thought a certain score might win, or were you just kind of following --
GRAEME McDOWELL: You know, I really stopped kind of looking at the leaderboards around the turn. You know, I was struggling -- I wasn't really on my game as such today. The pins were a little trickier. There was a bit of breeze swishing around. I got cold. It was a little trickier today, the course.
I did have a look at the board walking off the ninth green. I saw the scoring wasn't good. So that kind of, you know, really helped me kind of stay upbeat about things. I had a really good up-and-down at 11 to kind of get me in the mix, had a few good looks at it coming in. Just didn't really quite seem to be able to get it to happen today.
I had two great shots to 16, made a good swing on 17 and left it in the jaws there. And you know, until I was down the 18th fairway my caddie told me that Furyk had birdied the last to get to 15, so at that point I didn't realize that I was -- I figured if I birdied 17 I was tying things up. But when I found out that Jim had birdied the last hole, obviously that was me done. So like I said, I wasn't really leaderboard watching huge amounts out there today.
DOUG MILNE: Okay. Well, Graeme, very well done. We appreciate your time, and we look forward to seeing you in 2010.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Thanks, guys. Thank you.

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