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September 28, 2010

Graeme McDowell


GORDON SIMPSON: We are just going to make a start, we are running slightly behind schedule and try and rattle through as many questions as we can so the two Molinaris can take their turn in the interview room. Nice to welcome the range U.S. Open Champion. Graeme, you enjoyed the first experience of Ryder Cup in America but now you're back at a place which has very fond memories for you.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, great, for sure, great to be back here, winning The Wales Open in June was a great week for me and to go straight to Pebble Beach two weeks later and do the job there. Good memories around here. I think any time you win around a golf course, you have no problem visualising some nice shots and putts and we enjoyed our practise round this morning. The golf course is in phenomenal condition. Some really thick rough. The greens are taking a good shot. They are nice and firm to pitch to and they are rolling really true, so I mean, obviously fingers crossed for the weather, good weekend of weather like we had this morning.
The golf course is really, really well set up and good golf will be rewarded this week.
GORDON SIMPSON: How was the atmosphere when everybody got together for the first time?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, it was good, our first team get together. Monty made a nice speech and played some nice videos and everyone got pretty fired up. We are all excited. We have got a real nice mix in the team room this week of experience and young blood, and obviously our backroom staff speaks for themselves.
Colin has been a phenomenal captain so far. He's been very meticulous in his preparation. He's made sure that all of the clothing has been tried on long in advance, all of the measurements have been done. We are absolutely wanting for nothing this week. Everything has been taken care of. We have all of our equipment, all of the clothing we could possibly want for every possible weather condition this weekend and we are ready to go. We are very comfortable in the hotel and we have got a good bunch of guys. Like I say, the team room has a good atmosphere to it already this week.

Q. How much did your win in June play a role in what happened a month later and how much different -- there seems to be more rough today than back in June.
GRAEME McDOWELL: There was no doubt The Wales Open was definitely a catalyst to go to Pebble with my game in good shape and feeling confident and taking a lot of momentum there.
The weekend I had here, what did I shoot, 64-63 or something, I can't remember, but I took a lot of confidence away from that. You know, winning breeds winning and that certainly happened that time around. The golf course is very different from what it was in June. There was a bit of fire in the fairway in June. There is not much fire out there at the minute. The fairways are quite soft and the rough is very thick now. It's had a bit of growth over the summer with some heat and some rain.
The rough is patchy here in June. It not patchy anymore. It's just thick. You miss fairways, you're going to be punished. The fairways, the targets are big here though. If you do miss them, you deserve to miss them kind of thing. It's really, really well set up. The course has some length to it and the driving is a premium this week. You have to drive the ball in the fairway, preferably long; I know that works everywhere, but it certainly works this week, for sure.
Like I say, I think the golf course sets up for really just, if you play good golf, you really get rewarded this week. Bad golf is going to get punished heavily.

Q. May I inquire, which videos you watched to get in the fighting mood with Monty, please?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It was just clips from -- he just basically put a video on and said, guys, anyone that's unsure of what happens this week, he put a video on and showed us some old clips. Just really what The Ryder Cup signifies: The emotion, the passion, the great players, the great European players that have gone in the past, the Seve's and the Faldos and just the guys, the iconic figures in European golf and Ryder Cup golf, really.
That was pretty much what it was all about. Like I say, everyone got a bit of a buzz from it.

Q. Did the trick?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Everyone was feeling good about it last night. We had our rules meeting. Colin made a really nice speech and really told us what he expects of us and really talked us through what we would be doing preparation-wise this week. Like I say, with the backroom staff, with guys like Thomas Björn, Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley, Sergio, we have a great bunch of guys this week. I talked about not having the X-factor in the team room two years ago in Valhalla, I really feel we have that this week. The guys are excited and up for it, and we certainly want to win The Ryder Cup back this week.

Q. Two years ago you went in as a rookie, and this time you go in as U.S. Open Champion, could you speak about how you feel your role has changed and whether you'll be embracing that and taking that on board?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, for sure, Thomas Björn came up to me and asked me to have a chat with the guys I was playing with today, three rookies. That is obviously a bizarre change from two years ago, no doubt about it. Apart from Harrington and Poulter and Luke Donald, they are probably the most experienced guys we have on the team, and Westwood.
Two years ago, I certainly didn't know what to expect, I was a deer in the headlights if you like. This week I know what to expect and I'm coming in with all of the confidence in my game and hoping to play a real integral part of the team this time around, where last time around I was not sure how many games I would get and a bit in awe of it all.
This time around, like I say, our rookies are incredibly talented, world-class players. What do you say to Rory McIlroy that he doesn't already know about world-class golf? There was not a whole lot to be said to the three guys we played with this morning. They are world-class players and they will certainly enjoy this week.

Q. How do you and Rory get on this morning against the Molinaris? World Cup revenge?
GRAEME McDOWELL: A bit of World Cup vengeance, they beat us in November, and there was a bit of needle out there, shall we say. We ended up taking the money the front, the back and the total. We won the battle this morning but they won the war last November, unfortunately.
All four of us played pretty well. It was a good game, a lot of birdies flying and a beautiful morning for golf this morning. The greens are running really perfect and yeah, we had a good game. But it was nice to get one over on them.

Q. Just wonder whether Colin mentioned anything about taking on extra responsibility, maybe as a winner, giving advice to other guys.
GRAEME McDOWELL: I have not been asked to take much of a leadership role this week. I think you'll talk to them yourselves, but Harrington and Westwood have been singled out as the two leaders on the team. You know, we have got, like I say, our backroom staff, we have been assigned one of those guys to look after every game. Darren is looking after myself and Rory and stuff like that, Sergio with Miguel; we just have a lot of people to help us and make sure we have everything we need.
So as I say, I have not really been asked to be a leader as such, but you know, Colin is really talking to the players and listening to what they say about the golf scores and how it plays and how he wants to set it up. Colin has been very meticulous with his preparation, and he is making sure everyone has an input and everyone is a part of the team.
GORDON SIMPSON: As I say, it's very tight with this rotation, so two more questions.

Q. Just could I ask a little bit more about Rory, how has he settled in? Has he turned to you much? Has he asked you what it's going to be like? How do you think he will handle the week?
GRAEME McDOWELL: You know, he's slipped into it the way I expected him to. He's certainly not over-awed by the scenario. He's down played the sort of value of the Ryder Cup in his eyes as opposed to majors and WGCs and we have seen that in the media in the past.
His view of The Ryder Cup will change when it comes to Friday morning and he gets out there and feels the buzz on the first tee. I've told him that. He realises that. Now he's here, he's loving every second of it. It's different. Obviously, golfers measure themselves by major championships, there's no doubt about that, but The Ryder Cup is a very, very special event. It's a different feeling. It's something we don't get a chance to experience very often, and you know, I would imagine Rory will love every second of it this weekend and probably play a huge part. He played unbelievable this among. He's driving the ball like a man possessed out there and I was happy to stay within 30 yards of him most of the time this morning.

Q. Can you just clarify how Monty's Twitter ban has been down graded and did anybody speak against it last night?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I was getting a few responses back saying Monty had banned you guys, and I didn't hear anything to that effect until last night, obviously.
Monty, he doesn't want to go banning Twitter or social networks sites; we are all adults. It goes without saying that we are not going to say something that would unduly affect our team or give any strategy or secrets or tactics away. He simply just said to us, "You know, be sensible. Don't be saying anything stupid." He trusts us to -- he trusts us to obviously not do anything too stupid out there.
So I think we all realize that social networking sites go straight into the papers and straight onto all forms of media around the world. There's been some pretty famous mistakes made in Twitter in the past few months, and I think he just said to us to be careful and obviously watch what we say. We are not banned. But I don't think we'll be going crazy on it, either.
GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much for that.

End of FastScripts

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