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June 20, 2010

Graeme McDowell


Q. Tell us about the day.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Great day. Obviously, I stuck to my game plan. Did my job. Bogeyed 9 and 10, and for the first time I had a look up at the leaderboard walking off 1, and I saw I was two in front, I think, at the time, and I really played good on the back nine. I made some great swings. Hit some really nice putts.
And obviously I'm sure Greg's disappointed, bogeyed 17, didn't birdie the last. And 17 was such a tough hole. Wind switched completely there. I hit it in the front bunker, and didn't make par myself.
When I saw him not birdie 18, I had my decision made. I laid it up, and obviously took my five, and they gave me this thing. I couldn't believe it.

Q. Most of the time, a first timer coming down the stretch in a Major Championship makes some kind of mistake. They usually have to learn from that. What was it this time for you that you were able to hold on and not make that mistake and come through with the hardware?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I've played in plenty of Major Championships. I played in plenty of tournaments where I made the mistakes. I feel like I've served my apprenticeship a few times. I've been in positions going into a weekend at majors and not done the job.
I just have so much more confidence in my ability, and my game. I worked hard. I felt my game improve as the years have gone on. I really -- I walked away from a win in Wales and really felt like I was playing the golf of my life. And I feel very calm under the pressure this afternoon.
I made some great swings on that back nine. I struggled with my game yesterday. Yesterday was a big day for me. I hung in there. I hung tough when I wasn't really on my game. And I really kept myself into it with an opportunity to win the golf tournament, and I was happy to stay in the present out there this afternoon; and thankfully the golfing gods were looking down on me this afternoon.

Q. Talking the other day after your practice round we were talking about this and St. Andrews and you were talking about the majesty of this place, and you said it could be heaven and it could be hell. Are you in heaven right now?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Definitely. I think I've died and gone to heaven for sure. This can't be really real. I don't think this will ever sink in. It's a very special feeling to pick this trophy up on the 18th green, one of the most special golf courses in the planet. I mean this golf course is just awesome.

Q. What did you do to control your emotions today?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I controlled my emotions. I felt calm all week. Probably the worst I've been was Thursday I got a little frustrated out there. I hit it out of the position a few times. Hit a few bad shots. Got frustrated. You just can't do that at a U.S. Open. I promised myself I was going to be calm, I was going to hang tough.
I have a great caddie on my bag who keeps me calm, and I really just try to stay in the present as much as I can.
But getting back to the first question, this is just a special golf course to win. I dreamt of winning Major Championships and to win my first one -- I wanted to win multiple and you can't win multiple until you win your first; and like I say, I can't believe it. Pebble Beach, it's such a special venue.
To join the list of names, Tom Kite, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus. I can't believe I'm standing here as a Major Championship. It's an amazing feeling.

Q. You were standing here yesterday and saying you said the man that will be standing here holding this trophy will be a very, very lucky man. And that is you right now.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah. It's a surreal feeling right now. It really is surreal. I really played good today. I played my game today. I kept the ball under control a lot better than I did yesterday. It requires luck though to win a golf tournament there's so many top players around, Tiger and Phil. I didn't expect Gregory to be the man who would be taking me to the line, it's great to see European golfers playing well.
I'm really really happy to be part of a huge European run in world golf right now and it was great to see Gregory playing as well as he did. I mean, I guess he Monday qualified for this, so it was phenomenal.
And like you say, you need bit of luck. You need some breaks. Gregory bogeyed 17 and didn't birdie the last and it looks like he hit two decent shots and was in the front bunker and didn't get up-and-down and it made my decision a little easier.

Q. What do you think about being the first European in 40 years to win this?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It's special feeling. It really is. Not quite sure what it is about the U.S. Open, it's always suited my game a little bit. I've had some decent runs in the U.S. Open in the past but never really been able to close them out on the weekend.
It's a tough test of golf. There's bogeys around every corner, the second you start pushing, you're going to make bogeys. And I think I developed this kind of patience over some five, six years of playing Major golf and it's a special feeling to have this trophy in my arms right now.

Q. You're hugging that trophy like it's a beloved and you look at those names on there, and I mean they are the legends of golf. Your name will join them. Can you comment on what it will be like to see your name on there?
GRAEME McDOWELL: There's not too many bad golfers on this trophy. And to join an elite list of names, I mean, careers are defined by Major championships and my career's off and running today.
It's been a special few weeks. To win in Wales and to come here and win, I mean I can't describe how I feel. It's a surreal feeling for me right now.
But I feel ready to go. I'm playing the golf of my life right now. And to pick up this trophy, I don't know, I'm not sure how much partying I'm going to do over the next three months. Probably I should sober up pre-Ryder Cup at some point, but I'm looking forward to celebrating this one and it's a cool feeling.

Q. Do you feel that the new setup that Mike Davis is using to try to bring back the recovery shots and different types of shots around the green and more room off the tee might help Europeans win more often in the U.S. Open?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I felt Mike really set a good golf course up this week. He gave guys a chance to take these small, tough targets on. And Pebble Beach is all about the greens. It's not about putting six inch rough down the sides of fairways, it's about getting guys to hit it to these really small, undulating greens. And he did a great job from my point of view.
And you really had to use your short game. I don't care how good you played out there, you had to use your short game. You had to chip and you had to putt. My putter was kind to me this week. I putted well. Actually I scrambled pretty well in general and I kept the ball in play.
Like I say, I've been a decent U.S. Open player in the past, but I didn't quite think I was going to -- didn't think I was good enough to win. But my game's been improving all the time and I guess I was ready.

Q. When did you think you had a chance to win?
GRAEME McDOWELL: When I had a one-footer there to win. That was about the only time I actually believed. But deep down I knew I had the confidence and the calmness inside me to do it today.
It was tough. It was tough to make birdies. I hit a great shot into 13, had about an 8-footer there to go three ahead and I miss that.
And then all of a sudden I'm in trouble on 14.
And 15, I thought I made that putt. I have to say I'm looking forward to seeing the replay there because I thought that thing was in the middle.
I made some good swings down the stretch, I'm really proud of myself, I'm really proud of how I handled my emotions, the way I swung the club. I've got a great team of people who have helped me get here and I'm just ecstatic to get across the line.

Q. Lucas said last year after he won the trophy that he really was in disbelief. A year later he's turned into a man who really, really felt like he could win another and then maybe another again. I think there's a transformative thing that happens to somebody after they win the first one. Can you talk maybe about how that will affect your mindset going into other Major championships?
GRAEME McDOWELL: No doubt about it. I think the confidence that you get from winning golf tournaments is something that you can't replace and something that you can't buy. And you can't, no amount of practice can replace that kind of momentum and confidence you do get from winning tournaments.
And to win a Major tournament, to win a Major Championship, I mean, like I say, I dreamt of winning Majors, I always have dreamt of winning Majors. And until you do it once, I mean, I've let a few go. I had opportunities to contend and never just quite got it done. I think my best finish in a Major was 10th up until this point.
And to do it once and to learn how to do it and to know that deep down that you've got the piece of mind and the game to get it across the line, there's no doubt, I mean, I will take an unbelievable amount of confidence away from this week and I'll be looking forward to my future and I certainly will believe that I'm good enough to win more Major Championships.
So I agree with Lucas, I mean to win one is special, but I'll be, when I sober up I'll certainly be thinking about winning more of these things.

End of FastScripts

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