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January 9, 2011

Graeme McDowell


JOHN BUSH: Graeme, thank you for joining us. What a show you put on today. Just comment on the fantastic effort.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, very happy with the day's work. Obviously when you go into a final round that far back and you know the scoring is going to be good, there's nothing you can do really but just put the head down and try and have a great day yourself.
Got off to a great start, birdied four of the first five and continued to keep the gas on around the turn. When I birdied 13 through 16, I kind of started to think that maybe I had an outside shot; and I thought if I birdied the last, I might have had a chance to be in a playoff, but the guys have played great in front of me.
And I really look back at first three rounds really as the problem for me. I didn't finish the golf course very well at all here during the week. I played the last six holes level par through the first three rounds which isn't good enough. That was the key really. That was the difference between coming up short and having a chance to win this weekend.

Q. Did you get a bit of an unlucky lie on the 18th drive?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Not really. Not really. I didn't really get my tee shot sort of tumbling forward the way I wanted it to. It kind of ballooned up on me a little bit. I haven't plate 18 that well this week. I haven't driven the ball my best this week; the first three rounds especially, I drove the ball pretty awful to be honest. Today was much, much better.
And you know, this golf course kind of rewards guys that can move it off the tee, like Robert Garrigus, for example. I just watched him hit it onto 18 in two there and I haven't been able to get to close to 18 this week.
Like I say, I haven't driven it my best. Today was much much much better but 18, I just didn't hit it far enough, simple as that.

Q. What was the difference for you today on the back nine, was it the improved driving or just getting to know the course a bit better?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, better driving of the ball for sure. Made a couple putts, as well. To be honest with you, I haven't putted that well on the back nine this week.
But I kind of set myself a personal challenge to play the last six holes properly today. Talking to my caddie last night, he showed me my stats, they were level par for last six holes through the first three rounds and today I said to myself, let's try and finish the job. And I hit it way down there on 13. I hit it close, and 14 I was on front edge of the green which was an easy birdie. 15, I made a great putt there, and 16, I hit a pretty decent little shot in there.
So I played great today. I just hit the ball a lot closer to the hole today. I didn't really put my putter under a whole lot of pressure. It's just great to go low. It's great to come out and answer all of the questions this week. I realized it was going to be a difficult way to start the season with new equipment in the bag coming off the back of last year, there was always going to be questions. And it's great to come here and perform the way I have and show people that all I've done is move from one great golf company to another great golf company. I believe Srixon have the equipment to help me continue to win golf tournaments.

Q. Did you see the line --
GRAEME McDOWELL: I hit it so hard, by the time I looked it up was kind of past the hole. Kuchar was on a similar tine to me and I was trying to steal a little bit of a line off him, and he kind of just barely got the ball to the hole. It was a tough putt, though, it was a double-breaker, and it broke right, even though the grain was right-to-left. Maybe if I had hit it easier it would have had a chance to go in but I kind of shoved it.

Q. Do you enjoy being an aggressive, exciting player instead of a Steady Eddy?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I don't mind being whatever player it is that needs to win. I take tried in the fact that I can shoot 11-under par and then I can shoot level par 4 four rounds at the U.S. Open and win. I guess I take pride in the fact that I can adapt my game to whatever is necessary. Some weeks, you have to shoot 30-under par and other week, level par.
I feel like I kind of have a bit of both in me. I'm not a Robert Garrigus or Bubba Watson. I don't move it 350 off the tee, but I'm certainly long enough to compete any week and I feel like I'm continue to go get better and better. If I can keep doing that, you know, I'm going to have many opportunities to win in the future.

Q. At what point did it feel like you might have a shot at winning the tournament; 15, 16?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Probably 15 and 16. I told myself not to get sucked into looking at boards. I'm 5-under par through nine holes, or 6-under through nine, but you know, I realized that the guys were going to be going low in front of me, so there was no point in looking at boards.
When I birdied 13, 14 and holed a great putt on 15 and birdied 16, at that point I thought I might be in with a shout. I realized Jonathan Byrd had birdied 15 to go one ahead of me when I was playing 18, and I knew I needed to birdie 18. I hit a pretty decent little shot in there and like I say, I just kind of hit the putt a little too hard.
I wasn't going out there trying to play aggressive trying to win a golf tournament I was trying to have a good day and trying to cap off a great week and that's all I was trying it do.
I got off to a great fast start and got into a nice rhythm and enjoyed playing out there and enjoyed playing with Matt Kuchar and enjoyed making some birdies, and all of a sudden, just by relaxing and enjoying it and playing well, I had a great chance. So it was a fun day, and like I say, I was just playing loose golf, free golf today.

Q. Have you ever had a better day --
GRAEME McDOWELL: Sunday of the U.S. Open was pretty fun last year (laughter). 11-under par ties my lowest-ever round as a professional golfer; so from that point of view, from a purity-scoring point of view, no, I've never had a better day than that.
I've really enjoyed this week. It's a week you want to be at, and it's a week obviously you want to be here every year because it means you've won a golf tournament and that normally signifies a pretty good year.

Q. When was that round?
GRAEME McDOWELL: The 11-under was at the Irish Open a couple of years ago, and I followed that up with a withdrawal the next day (laughter) that was kind of interesting.
JOHN BUSH: Great start to the season.

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