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June 5, 2010

Graeme McDowell


SCOTT CROCKETT: Graeme, thanks for coming in and joining us as always and congratulations on an excellent day out there. Just give us your thoughts on the 64 first and foremost and also your thoughts on where you are in the tournament going into the final day.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, obviously exactly what I had in mind today. Got off to a flyer yesterday, was really feeling in control of my game, and obviously threw a few shots away around 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 yesterday, and I was keen to put the foot down early today.
I felt like I had a low score in me this week. I've been driving the ball really good, hitting some great iron shots, giving myself a ton of chances. Haven't been loving the greens. Thursday struggled on the greens big time, but putted better yesterday and really rolled it good today and obviously very pleasing.
I noticed on the board this morning, there was plenty of red on and it seemed like the scoring was good this morning. And that inspired me to keep the foot down a little bit when I was sort of 5-, 6-under par early, and I really tried to keep accelerating, apart from the bogey on 16. I really can't complain. I gave myself plenty of chances this morning.
SCOTT CROCKETT: As you say, so many things today that you're pleased about, but particularly the finish, after dropping that shot, to birdie 17 and 18, really set you up for tomorrow.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, it was nice. I notice Stephen got into the clubhouse at 7-under par total and I was keen to try and finish off a good day. It's never -- lunch doesn't taste great when you've got low early and don't birdie coming in.
I hit a fabulous 4-iron into 17, it was a perfect number and I pitched it right where you want to pip and two decent shots and out of the trap on the last. There was a lot of sand around and it, and it was on the upslope a little bit and I was trying to get it up there anywhere around ten feet and in. The traps were difficult and deep and there's quite a lot of sand in them.
I'm impressed by the golf course this week; it's been a few years since I've been here and impressed with what they have done. They have really cleaned the place up and it's looking amazing. It's in great shape this week and obviously everyone is excited about the next few months here.

Q. Is this the sort of course, the more you play it, the more you enjoy it?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I agree. When I first came here back in 2007, I wasn't blown away by the place. They have done a really good job of cleaning it up. Holes like 6, which is a dog-leg right around the water, they stripped away all of the reed there and really made it, it just looks much more -- it's a much more visually0intimidating hole.
Some of the water par 3s like 13, again, they stripped out all of the stuff there and you can see what you're doing now. I think they just really cleaned the golf course up and really shaped it and defined it well. I really think that the guys who are here in October are going to really like the place.
I mean, you know, obviously the finish, 15 through 18, you just have huge natural amphitheatres there. And we were out there the last few days just picturing 40,000, 50,000 people on the banks and what it's going to be like.
It is, it's getting to be -- like you say, the more you play it, the more you really start to like the golf course. It was great to go out there and score this morning. I found it tricky the last couple of days. The rough is really thick in places and it's been a good test.

Q. Presumably your main goal for the year is to be back here in October?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, absolutely, of course, of course. There's no doubt, my objective this summer is to get myself on the team. I'm under no illusions it's going to be a tough task. You've got to look, we have six guys in the Top-10 in the world, there's half your team right there and only leaves six spots. A lot of good players.
I'm really just happy with the way I'm happy going into the busy part of the season. I mean, you can't really affect the big picture too much. You can kind just of take it day by day, and that's what I'm trying to do, enjoy my golf and put myself into positions like I've put myself in going into tomorrow and see where that leaves me come end of August.
It's a dream; I really, really want to be here in October. I'm desperate to be here, but you can only do the best week-in, week-out and see where that leaves you.

Q. Have you set a monetary figure in mind you think you need to get to?
GRAEME McDOWELL: No, I really haven't looked at that. You know, I'm under no illusions. I'm going to need a couple of big weeks and that's probably going to involve a win in a tournament like this and perhaps a top three or four at one of the majors.
I really haven't sat down and crunched the numbers. Like I say, I just don't think it's going to affect my day-to-day performances. I'm not going to go out and play any differently if I've got it all worked out. I've got the perfect schedule; I'm going to play every event, I'm obviously heading to Pebble. I'm not going to play Munich, that's about the only sort of notable event I'm not going to play between now and the PGA Championship. And if need be, I'll be coming straight home to the Czech Open and Gleneagles if I need to do that.
I've got a great schedule; Top-50 Monday after Wentworth really set me up for a great summer's golf now, and feeling fit and healthy and enjoying things, so just got to keep plugging away.

Q. Presumably shooting 64 round here isn't going to go unnoticed by the Captain?
GRAEME McDOWELL: No, I mean, a few people asked me this week, is playing well, is it going to stand you in good stead come the picks in September. There's no doubt, you know, if I play well tomorrow here and post a good finish, maybe even win the golf tournament, if it came to the crunch, Monty might pull up the stats and find out who played well here, there's no doubt about it.
The big difference between me here and me two years ago when it comes to The Ryder Cup points, there's no way I was a legitimate pick two years ago. I feel like I maybe have a shot if I was playing well come September this time around, and that gives me comfort, as well. That's going to keep me motivated the next couple of months, I'll be extremely motivated going into Augusta, trying to chase things and show Monty I'm good enough to be on the team.

Q. How difficult is it to shoot two rounds like this?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Go out tomorrow and follow it up you mean? Yeah, it's all difficult because you're always judging yourself on the day before. I'll be like, well, I was 5-under through nine at this point yesterday, what's happened to me today. There's always that on your mind.
I'm just happy to be in the position here. I'm going to reset the system and find out where this leaves me this afternoon and just set myself a target and go for it.
My caddie said to me this morning: Let's try to get it to 10-under par this weekend. Ten may win, ten may not win and we can probably recalibrate that now and try to get to 11 or 12 tomorrow.

Q. Have you talked to Monty at all this week and do you think your existing partnership with Rory will come into his thoughts?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I haven't spoken to Monty about it. There's so many good players, there's no doubt my relationship with Rory will stand me in good stead. But let's be honest, anybody could partner Rory. He's that good. And the same goes for most of the top, top players. Anyone would want to partner him.
Like you say I say, when push comes to shove, if that needs to be a factor, it's a possible factor. Like I say, I want to qualify off my own merit. You don't really need the pressure of a pick, and it would be great to do it and get myself on to the team by myself.

Q. Have you played Pebble before?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I've played I think three AT&T championships. I Monday-qualified way back when when I was a young whippersnapper, and I have played a couple since.
Yeah, I know the golf course pretty well so obviously how it plays in March is not going to be the same as how it's going to play here in June, but really excited to be over there. It's such a special year this year with major championships with Pebble and St. Andrews and Augusta, and Whistling Straits; it's a special year.

Q. You were an adopted Welshman for a while with the local girl you dated a few years ago - do you still have some local support?
GRAEME McDOWELL: That's taken me back a few years, yeah. (Laughter).
Funny, I went across and hooked up with the ex-in-laws there last night actually for a bit of food in my old stomping grounds. That was good, I keep in contact with them and I do have a bit of local support, and there will be a few of them running around.
Like you say I was an adopted south Welshman a few years ago, and I still have some good support in this part of the world.

Q. Is this a tough course to come and play cold which, presumably, most of the Americans will do in October?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I actually do think this golf course has a few idiosyncracies to it. Holes like 15, you have to play it a few times in order to understand it and stuff. I think there's so much they can do with this golf course. That's what I like about it so much. So many options, tee options and holes like 5, the par 4 there, I mean, seems like they can bump that tee way forward and make that a drivable par 4. And 15 is obviously a real interesting hole match-play-wise.
I really do, I think these greens, they have a real links feel to them in many areas. There are a lot of big run-off areas, and, you know, I do think it takes a little bit of getting to know this place. And there's no doubt, the guys who have played here in the past will have a slight advantage on guys coming in cold.

Q. So was it disappointing that more of our top players weren't here?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It's a big dilemma. There's a big tournament in the States, the Memorial, one I've never played in. Never fit in my schedule and one I'm desperate to go and play some year.
And I can understand, guys are trying to prepare for the U.S. Open and Memorial is a very U.S. Open-style course. I can understand where they are coming from. It's a really busy time in the schedule. It's tough. Everyone has their own way of doing things, and, you know, it's a big week. Obviously it would have been great to see a lot of the guys here supporting it, and a lot of them are here.
Like I say, you can't blame guys at this time of the season, I don't think.

Q. How difficult will the course be here come October?
GRAEME McDOWELL: How difficult is the course going to play come October, you say? I'm interested to see -- I'll be really wanting to talk to Monty as regards how he sees the setup this week and how he wants it in October. It comes down to how the captain and his committee want the course set up.
I think this is a big golf course. I think this is a golf course where you want someone who can move it off the tee a little bit. I think just depending -- the way it's set up this week, accuracy is key. I've driven the ball really good this week and I feel like that's why I've been scoring okay.
I think you've got to drive -- be a good driver of the ball on the golf course. I'm not wild; length is key. It's length and accuracy like a Rory -- Rory is probably one of the best drivers of the ball in the world, Martin Kaymer. And I think we have some really top, top drivers of the golf ball, Sergio, guys like that can drive it good. It's their kind of golf course I think.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Graeme, thanks, as always. Good luck tomorrow.

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