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July 16, 2010

Graeme McDowell


Q. You're in the Top 10 and basically you've done what you said you were going to do yesterday.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, came out and played pretty good today, a couple of careless three-putts again on the front nine, which is a bit frustrating. I've had four three-putts now in two days, which is a little unlike me. Played tough coming in. I think I played the back nine in like 1-under par. I birdied 16 and birdied the last, so really, really strong finish, really happy with that. Got myself back in position. Felt better today. My focus felt a lot better today. My focus wasn't where it needed to be yesterday but felt better today.

Q. 3 and 4 and 5 holes, three or four in a row.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I mean, like I say, I birdied 1 and I three-putted 3 carelessly -- well, I say "careless" but it was just clumsy more than anything. And then I three-putted 4 from the front edge. Good birdie on 5. And sort of nothing was happening, and Kenny said, let's try and play this loop well today. And I birdied 7, 8 and 9. Should have birdied -- I had a good chance on 10, had a good chance on 11, and then I tried to do too much on 12 and kind of got one riding on the wind into the gorse and made bogey there, but I played really well coming in.

Q. There are a lot of shots between you and the lead but not a lot of players.
GRAEME McDOWELL: For sure, Louis Oosthuizen at 12-under par on the tough side of the draw, that's a great score, no doubt about it. If he keeps playing like that, obviously he's going to be tough to catch.
This is a major weekend. Obviously weather is going to be a huge element, and I'm happy to be in position. Like I say, if he keeps going low from there, he's going to be tough to catch. He's got a long time to wait until tomorrow afternoon, and there's trouble out there.

Q. Between Loch Lomond and here do you feel your game is back to U.S. Open tightness and sharpness?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I played much better the last two days than I did last week. I've been working hard this week, working on the shots required to get the ball around this golf course. Like I say, my focus is coming back to me, as well. It's been difficult, you know, with players and spectators and just people really congratulating me on Pebble and still kind of living four weeks ago. You know, it's difficult for me to move on, as well. I don't really want to move on, but I've also got to get refocused on the task at hand, as well.

Q. There's not much pressure on you at the moment. It's not like the U.S. Open where you are riding high.
GRAEME McDOWELL: For sure, I'm going into this weekend with no expectations at all. I'm really putting no pressure on myself. I've got myself in great position. I'll be out tomorrow and free swinging and just really trying to control the ball in this weather. The pins were tricky today. I thought the greens were a little quicker, and I think the leaders are going to have a tough afternoon. I say the leaders, I mean Rory and the guys that played yesterday afternoon. I think the greens are going to be very, very tricky and treacherous, and I really don't see Rory getting far past Louis in these conditions.

Q. What's your sense of where you are?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I love being in contention going into the weekend. It's weird saying I'm in contention when I'm seven back, but there's not too many guys in front of me. I love the way I'm playing, so I think I can have a good weekend from here.

Q. Do you see some wreckage ahead for the next two days here?
GRAEME McDOWELL: For sure. There's plenty of deep coffin-like bunkers to bury wreckage in out there today. This is an interesting golf course because until the wind blows, the like of yesterday morning, the boys can go out there, and when you've got a driver in the bag like Rory has, there's no trouble, you can just blow it over the trouble. But when the wind gets up like this, it's a different kind of fish, it really is. It'll be interesting to see how he handles himself this afternoon. He's a good wind player, too, but Louis' 12-under par is very impressive.

Q. You gave Rory a bit of a high five --
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I just told him to play well. He said, "good playing." He's bouncing down there as Rory does, and he's in good form, so I'll be looking forward to watching this afternoon.

Q. (Inaudible.)
GRAEME McDOWELL: I kind of was. I kind of was. You know, would I'd swap places with him? I might take my chances and swap places with him, but just about, four shots better than me. I'd have taken my chances and swapped places with him, but only by about two shots. I'm pretty happy to be in the clubhouse at 5-under. Obviously, like I say, seven back, but that's only one guy. We'll see what happens. I'm excited to get a little bit of focus back today and hit some good shots and get the old blood pumping again. It feels good.

Q. You hit some really linksey shots out there, especially the pitch shot at 18.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Well, Kenny wanted me to fly it back there with a lob wedge, but the fairways are so tight and unforgiving here. The wind was really howling, and I just felt like -- very often, I mean, I listen to Kenny when it comes to short game, but when you're on a links golf course like this, it's very much how you see it. I've seen a lot of shots along the ground this week, and I've kind of gone back to where I grew up, the type of stuff like that. It's nice to be able to play shots like that. I hit a great 4-iron to 16, which probably never got about more than 15 feet off the ground. It was just a real driller in there. That was great.
This golf course asks you to hit all the shots. That's what I love about links golf. There's nothing one dimensional about the golf out there. You've got to hold them up, hook them on the wind, putt it from long-range, chip and run it. You've just got to do everything out there, and it's a great test.

Q. How did you play 17 today?
GRAEME McDOWELL: 17 I just tried to pop one onto the front edge there. There's just no way I can see a shot kind of chasing up onto the top surface there. I've played it to the front edge both days and had a really good two-putt both days, so I've kind of played it the way my game plan suggested.

Q. What did you have there?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I hit a decent drive, and I had 174 to the front edge, and I just chipped a 6-iron. I really wasn't trying to pitch it beyond 180 yards. That was my game plan there, and just take my two-putts.

Q. Rory said you're a huge confidence builder. Do you think you've started something here?
GRAEME McDOWELL: He could be a dangerous man if he gets going for sure. Giving him more confidence? That's a little scary prospect. I mean, there's no doubt, I'm sure -- for sure, I think reading some of the stuff he said, obviously he thought majors were maybe a little bit further out of his reach than -- maybe he didn't think he had the game to win a major just yet. But he obviously realizes that it is possible and they are closer than he maybe expected. Like I say, I mean, if he gets any more confidence we could be all in trouble.

Q. Do you think it might be you now taking him out?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I would certainly love to take him out for dinner if he won this week, sure. If I can't win, I'd love to see him win dearly. I will definitely be the first man on 18 green if he does do the job, but I'll be trying to chase him down this weekend.

Q. (Inaudible.)
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I need it to blow. I don't need to score first out there tomorrow morning. Tomorrow afternoon I don't need Louis Oosthuizen shooting 5-under par again, so yeah, I need it to blow from here.

Q. (Inaudible.)
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I kind of got a little blown out of proportion that. He's an aggressive golfer. You know, we've had a few jokes about it. We've had a few jokes about that and stuff. Was it timely? I don't know. I mean, this golf course sets up so much better for him than Pebble Beach does. Pebble Beach is such a small target, it really is about playing mega-overconservative, sensible golf. This place you can be a little bit more aggressive, although the pins are a little bit tricky out there today.
Yeah, it's definitely sparked something in him. His game has been there all season. It's no surprise to me that he's playing well ever. He's so good, I expect him to win every week when he tees it up. He's that good.

Q. He was saying down 18 (inaudible.)
GRAEME McDOWELL: That would be pretty special. That would be pretty special. I've always wanted to have a chance to go head-to-head with him on Sunday afternoon somewhere. You know, if the stars align here tomorrow, who knows. You know, Sunday could be a showdown. But like I say, I need it to blow obviously, and Louis is obviously a long way ahead of me, and if he keeps going deep, he's going to be tough to catch. Looking forward to watching the wee man get around there this afternoon. I'll be pulling a chair up in front of the TV.

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