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January 20, 2011

Graeme McDowell


Q. First thing's first, a little bit of an incident on the third shot to the last, tell us what was happening there?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I was conscious that I put the club down right behind the ball and kind of like an innocent scenario where you just feather it. And I mean, the ball doesn't go anywhere, but I think in that situation, if the ball had moved off its spot, of course I'm in a penalty situation. I was fairly sure the ball had not done anything. And after Andy McFee had had a look at the TV, he was happy the ball had only oscillated. So obviously you don't want to be ever outside the rules, and obviously very happy that I wasn't in any infringement there.

Q. Quiet and then suddenly making a run of birdies, particularly 14 and 16 from fairway bunker, the commentators were very impressed, how impressed were you?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, one of those days where I hit the ball very well and made nothing. I stayed patient and the greens kind of have me scratching my head a few times. They are tough to read in places these greens, and it was great to finish with five birdies. That always feels nice and made some nice putts and like I say, 14 and 16 out of the fairway traps and the putt on 16 was pretty sweet.

Q. You said before the tournament started, the course may suit you more this year than previous years because it's based on accuracy; do you feel that way now having played?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, you still have to drive the ball very well around here. Obviously length hitter, so is the big advantage but there are certain tee shots where the bunkers are kind of stopping the big guys from getting another 30, 40 yards, and I think that kind of helps us mediocre 285, 290 guys and gives us a chance.
I like the way the golf course is set up this week. There's a real premium on being in the fairway because the greens are quite firm, and it's very tough to control the ball out of the rough this week. It's a good test.

Q. On 13, at that stage, you must have been thinking --
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I was getting frustrated on the 13th green to be honest because I hit a nice shot in there and a good putt and greens have a little bit of grain on them and it's not really been a happy hunting ground for me around here and I was think to go myself, here we go again.
Sometimes you don't know what's around the corner in this game, and it was great. I hit a great fairway trap shot to 14 and thankfully read one right and made it and made a good putt on 15 and then obviously bomb on 16. I played the last two holes very, very well and always nice to finish with five birdies, especially probably one of the toughest stretches on the course.

Q. So the difference between you now and you 12 months ago, you have the confidence and the patience now to know that it will happen, the scoring?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I think patience is a big thing. You've got to believe that you're golf is good enough and I think that's what the best players in the world can do. You know, not getting frustrated, especially when you see guys shooting 7- or 8-under par, I was only -- we were aware that Charl Schwartzel was kind of lighting it up in front of us. All three of us are just cruising along at sort of 1-under par and you're thinking, well, we need to make something happen.
So steadying the ship and staying in the moment and obviously waiting for your opportunity to come along, even if I did just shoot 1- or 2-under par today, knowing that I can go have a low one hopefully tomorrow and get back in the event. I guess having that little bit of confidence helps.

Q. Did you ask to see television footage?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I didn't. I didn't. Andy McFee was on the radio in the scoring hut and obviously if we would have had a problem, he would be obviously would have taken me over to see that and he was pretty happy the ball had not moved.
Like I say, every now and again, when you're addressing the ball, you can get a little close to the ball. It's kind of like feathering it, if you know what I mean, and you know, I'd know if the ball moved off the spot. The grass is very coarse and you'd have to give the ball a real good nudge to make it move. I was pretty happy the ball had not moved, and I knew exactly what the issue was when I knew what he was looking at. I was confident I was okay, but it's always nice to have a reassurance. I think it was on super slow-mo, so I was not getting away with anything if it had moved.

Q. I think it was a phone-in job, Conor was saying something about that.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Doesn't matter, viewer, no viewer, we have enough cameras and these super slow-mo cameras are great because they protect players and everyone else and at the end of the day the rules are there for everyone's protection. If I had done something, obviously it was not something I was trying to do purposely and if that ball had moved off the spot I was in trouble of course.
Like I say, these fairways, you have to give it a pretty good nudge to move it.

Q. It's great to get a review before you sign your card, though.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, it's great to have the technology. Obviously Andy McFee is on the radio and said, "Don't sign your card until I have a real good look at this," and he radioed in and said he was very happy so I could go in and sign my card.

Q. Are you feeling any fatigue, or do you not feel fatigue when you play like this?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I felt a little sluggish this week at times. Even the front nine, I didn't feel particularly fizzed up, but you know, it's been a long stretch, and sometimes when the finish line is near, obviously I've got four weeks off after this week, so sometimes when the finish line is there, it's kind of very easy to take your foot off the pedal a little bit. Very nice to finish the way I did today, and get myself up in the business end going into tomorrow and hopefully get a bit of adrenaline back in the body.
I want to have a big weekend going into my time off feeling very confident about my game. I've worked very hard with the Cleveland Srixon guys this week so I can get my equipment dialed in so that I can go into my time off feeling I'm in control of what I'm doing and I have the right equipment in my bag and practise and get ready for a very, very busy sort of middle of spring, summer, very important part of the season.

Q. Did you and Phil talk about much today?
GRAEME McDOWELL: He just asked me what golf ball I was playing. We use a very similar driver. We were just talking about drivers. No, there wasn't much.

Q. Talk about the World Rankings much?
GRAEME McDOWELL: We didn't talk about the World Rankings funny enough. That's a very bizarre scenario. I saw in print somewhere where it's down to five or six decimal points, where it's actually kind of weird. Of course it's just an interesting one but I'm sure the two of us are not very focussed too hard on it. It's not like I'm out there trying to play match play over the guy.

Q. Take any joy finishing in front of him or does that come Sunday night?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Oh, it's all about Sunday night. Of course, I'm not a guy who gets sucked in by World Rankings. I know a lot of guys pay attention to what's going on around them in the World Rankings but I'm a big believer of keeping your head down and plug away and just add them up on Sunday night and look them up on Monday morning and away you go again and don't focus on them too hard.
It's nice, of course, if you're getting to No. 4 in the world, it feels great, of course it feels great. I want to continue to try to get better but like I say I'm not a guy who is going to be worrying about what Rory is doing or Goose is doing or Lee. I can only take care of my game.

Q. Did something click on 10 out of the bunker?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, it was nice to make a putt. Sometimes you get a little bit of momentum. I hit the ball pretty good today. I drove the ball average. My iron play was solid. It is a tough course. You know, Charl Schwartzel 8-under through 12 holes, we are like, what course is he playing, you know what I mean. I understand this morning, the guys can make a score. Good to see Pádraig playing well. It's a tough course to make a score on. Some great scoring, considering.

Q. What are your plans for your four weeks off?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I think my big plan is to not have any plans. I have a tendency to run around like a bit of an idiot when I get some time off. So I'm actually going to go to Orlando and really just not do too much. I'm going to have a couple of weeks and relax really and just eat good and chill and just do some work on my new house.

Q. Do some bricklaying?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, do some bricklaying and crack the whip on the builders and the great thing about four off is I can have a real good two chilling and then my second set of two weeks I'll really be starting to practise hard again. Pete is going to come over a few days before the Match Play and do some work. Don't have any plans for a change, which is great.

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