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January 21, 2011

Graeme McDowell


SCOTT CROCKETT: Thanks, as always, for coming in and joining us. Give us your thoughts on a day not as spectacular as yesterday but still in very good position in terms of the tournament.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, very happy obviously. Golf course plays quite different here in the mornings to the afternoons. Bit of rain this morning, so golf course was playing its full yardage. Hit the ball generally as good, if not a little bit better than yesterday, but obviously didn't quite score as good. But you know, obviously in a great position going into the weekend hopefully.
So just nice to be there or thereabouts going into the weekend.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Is it fair to say after your start, you didn't think you would be sitting here at lunchtime after the bogey, bogey beginning?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I started off bogey, bogey. Hit a great drive down 10 that just trickled into the bunker, played it out of the bunker, hit the lip and a few shots later made bogey.
Bogeyed from the middle of the fairway on 11. Not the start I was looking for, of course, but birdied the next two. It was a nervy old start this morning; 4.45 alarm call is never much fun. Golf course was a lot longer this morning, but wet. No, it was good. Good day's work, very happy to get out there, birdied 7 and 8 coming in there, and obviously, like I say, good position.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Give us the details of your birdies.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Birdie on 12 was a 6-iron to about 15 feet.
13, I hit an 8-iron out of the left rough to 20 feet.
18, I hit a gap wedge in there to about four feet.
Bogey on 6 was a very clumsy pitch from just short, which blew ten feet by and missed the putt back.
Hit a 5-iron on 7 to about 15, 20 feet.
8 was a 7-iron I hit to 20 feet again. The putter is pretty hot.

Q. I don't want to sort of take much away from your great two rounds, but Pádraig as you know had an early wake-up call this morning, too, and both after incidents involving incidents of people in reports of what they saw on TV, because you had that similar situation yourself yesterday?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I obviously had a very similar scenario on 18 yesterday. You know, when these high-def, slow-mo cameras we are under scrutiny to the nth degree. You can see every grain of sand and dimple on the golf ball. 95 per cent of the field don't have to deal with that, but the five per cent that are on TV, ten per cent, whatever it is, have got to deal with that. And you know, it's just not great for the game, you know, when minor rules like this -- the rules are there for everyone's protection. But, you know, is Pádraig Harrington trying to gain an advantage by what he's doing? No, he's not.
At some point the common sense has got to take over, and that's just horrible, really. I mean, trial by TV and all this stuff. The TV evidence, in most cases, is very helpful to find out what's happened in a scenario when it's kind of a question mark. But we are talking a dimple roll forward here. What is it, in the act of replacing the ball has he just nudged it or something?

Q. Bumped it with his finger.
GRAEME McDOWELL: To me the marking and remarking of a golf ball as we saw earlier in the week was with one of the grayest areas in golf. For a game that's so scientific and so to the nth degree and the rules are very specific; the marking of a golf ball, you have big coins, small coins, it's such a gray area.
I've always said that you look at a snooker referee the way he replaces a white ball or a ball when he's cleaning it, it's a scientific maneuver. But marking and remarking a golf ball is not a scientific maneuver. It's very difficult to get that ball back on the right spot, you know, because you just slide the marker and you're picking it up and putting it back and sliding it back out. Your fingers are very close to the ball all the time.
I think that you have to look seriously at that rule. I don't think a player should be penalised for trying to take his marker out of the way and glancing his ball. You know, like I say, it's a gray area and I think it's a tough rule and it's a horrible way to be DQ'ed, the guy's first tournament of the year. I feel for him. It's not nice, at all.

Q. Just following up on that, obviously it was all triggered by a viewer e-mailing in. Do you think that kind of interaction, although it's great in golf, is fair or should the players and the referees be the only people having the say and making the decisions?
GRAEME McDOWELL: You know, it's TV and we need TV here. If some guy is sitting at home and he thinks he sees something, is he protecting the rest of the players?
In this scenario, like I say, I don't like the rule. It's a horrible rule. But you know, if a guy flicks the sand or he breaks a big rule, you know, and it goes unnoticed, of course, like I say, the rules are there for everyone's protection. But it just gives the game -- it makes a bit of a mockery of the game when we are penalising players for something as crazy as that. The game has had a lot of bad press lately, stupid rules; Dustin Johnson at the PGA, there's too much of that going on nowadays, simple rules.
TV viewers are important to us, and High Definition and 3D and slow-mo add to the experience of watching golf on TV. But you know, it's one of those things, yeah, it's horrible, really. I think we need to take a serious look at the Rules of Golf really and make sure that, yeah, they are protecting people, but you know, some of these fiddly little finickety, stupid little rules, you know, we need to have a look at them.

Q. Andy McFee and Pádraig were in earlier and they were saying that going forward, the players should be given two shots and not DQ'ed. Would you go along with that? DQ somebody, it's just so Draconian.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, it's a bit harsh to DQ a guy in retrospect like that. Yeah, I like the two-shot thing. Especially when a guy -- he's unknowingly signed for a wrong score there.
Yeah, you know, and this scenario --

Q. Villegas is the same.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, a guy is unknowingly signed for a wrong score. He's not tried to gain any advantage. He's unknowingly broken the rules. Yeah, I agree with that.

Q. Wonder if you have words you would use to describe somebody who calls in with something like this. (Laughter).
GRAEME McDOWELL: Ah, tough to -- an anorak? I don't know.

Q. Poulter said snitch.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Snitch? Yeah, I mean -- it's a fiddly one. It's a horrible one.

Q. There's rules freaks out there.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, wonder what size of plasma TV he has, if he's sitting at home with a 100-inch plasma with a high-def.

Q. Vigilante?

Q. Loser?
Definitely too much time on his hands. Too much time on his hands.
Yeah, snitch, no, what can you say. It's a tough one. I want someone to call me on a rule, if I broke a major rule, and I got away with it and TV picked it up and someone called in, yeah, you've got to hold your hand up, but I don't know how someone has managed to see that.

Q. An anorak?
GRAEME McDOWELL: An anorak; too much time on his hands.

Q. You were a victim of this potentially yesterday, did it put a damper on your round of golf? You had five fantastic holes to finish and then you were left hanging around while this was going through. What was going through your mind?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It did. It's horrible to be sitting there awaiting your fate really, and obviously TV being the judge, and I'm not sure if I was in a scenario there where somebody called in, I think maybe I was. I'm a big believer in -- take TV viewers out of it, I'm a big believer on players calling rules on other players. I think if there was more of that going on there would be a lot less rule breaking going on. I think players are sometimes scared to pull another player up on a rule because they don't want to be branded as a snitch, you know what I mean.
I think the players need to be more alert as to what's going on. At the end of the day, the Rules of Golf, geez, it takes years to learn the Rules of Golf. There's so many decisions and bits. The Andy McFees and John Paramors, these guys are absolute experts at Rules of Golf and we can't be expected to be experts on the ruse of golf all the time and we can't be expected to call referees all the time when something tiny happens, because the pace of play slows down to a standstill. But when these TV viewers come on, that's tough. It's tough when a player is subject to that.
But like I say, I'm a believer in that players need to be more alert and taking notice of what other players are doing. I think if we can look out for each other a little bit more, and players called on other players like that, you know, I think that we need to be a bit more alert to the Rules of Golf. They are tough, they are tight, and you get on the wrong side of them sometimes, it's not nice.

Q. Do you think that will happen, because we have just had that with Stuart Davis and Marcus Higley. Do you think that will happen where players are actually going to set a precedent to actually call somebody up on the rules?
GRAEME McDOWELL: You know, I had a scenario in Singapore at the end of last year where my playing partner called the other guy in our threesome on tapping the line of his putt. It was the Korean kid. And no one else in the group saw. I was lining my putt up. I didn't see it. And it just comes down to a scenario where it's his word against the other guys. You're never going to call a guy on that scenario and if the TV doesn't have it, all of a sudden it's bad blood and it's a horrible scenario to be in. You can't just call the guy out. It's very hard.
What was your question?

Q. It's happened that there's been a precedent with Elliot Saltman and the two boys having the courage to say something wrong is going on here. Has that set a precedent that the guys are talking about maybe moving forward, that will happen more often?
GRAEME McDOWELL: You know, I think the players should be policing each other. Not TV viewers. Not anyone else. The players start policing each other more and more, there's going to be less of that stuff going on. I'm not saying guys are running around cheating. Luckily enough I have not it been in a scenario where I watched a guy cheat. I believe 99 per cent of the guys are very honest and it's a great game and we police ourselves.
I believe if guys are going to call things on other guys, I think, you know, if anyone does think they can break a rule, I think guys are going to be a little bit more wary and they are going to think twice about doing stuff if they don't think they are going to get away with it. Like I say, it's tough because it stirs up a lot of bad blood. You don't want to be a snitch.

Q. It affects your game, as well.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Exactly for sure. If you think you've seen a guy doing something it can definitely can ruin your day. We had to call Shaun Micheel last year at the U.S. Open on a double hit. It didn't feel good saying it to the guy. But the thing is Kenny saw it and one of our playing partners have seen it. So when two or three of you have seen it, you're in a position to do something about it but you never want to get into a position where it's your word against another guys, it's not nice.

Q. How did Shaun Micheel take it on that occasion?
GRAEME McDOWELL: He took it very well. We just said to him, listen, we feel like you -- it was a tough one for him because he had such a bad lie and he didn't really feel the first contact, and we said to him, listen, you might want to double-check that.
Thankfully we were really good position at the time where the TV was right there, and he was able to go into the TV truck and have a real good look at it and he took it really well to be honest with you. He took it -- and he actually left me a really nice note in my locker the next it day and wished me all the best for the weekend. He took it well.
But I think when you go and look at the TV evidence, as I hear that Pádraig obviously had done and he saw it with his own eyes, what can you do.
I guess like I said, these high-def cameras don't lie. It's tough, they can certainly show you things that even the naked eye can't see. The player, like I say, he's obviously completely unaware of what he's done. It's tough, like I say, we need to have a really good look at the rules.

Q. In a sense, you were fortunate yesterday that you had an opportunity not to sign your card while the incident was being investigated, Pádraig didn't get that opportunity, do you think it's time with all of the technology now that officials should monitor the broadcast and catch these things before players and give them the opportunity to take a penalty and not disqualification?
GRAEME McDOWELL: The problem is there's only ten to 12 guys out there on the camera. You can't monitor a whole field.

Q. You can monitor the screen, though.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, are you going to have a camera on every hole? You mean just monitoring the broadcast?

Q. What the guy at home would see?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I think judging by what we've seen, we have enough people monitoring it. Enough anoraks out there watching it.

Q. Why not have one here?
GRAEME McDOWELL: There's no need, because if someone calls in, I guess every accusation has got to be researched; to go to the TV evidence and see what's happened, I don't know, it's hard.

Q. But the point you make is that if an official sees here he has an opportunity to not sign his card?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I like the two-shot idea. I don't think a guy should be DQ'ed in retrospect. A guy, if he unknowingly signs a card for a certain score and he gets penalised after the fact, he shouldn't be DQ'ed, because he's not breaking the rules at that time. The knowledge he has at that second -- I'm lucky yesterday where obviously Andy McFee is on the radio and told me not to sign the card until he reviewed the TV evidence. Camilo obviously a couple of weeks ago, Pádraig today. The rule needs to be reviewed.

Q. I know we are all a bit emotional about what has happened right now, but when you look back, how proud will you be to be part of a game like that?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I'm very proud of many things about this game, the self-policing, calling penalties on yourself. I think it's a great game. It teaches you a lot of good qualifies for life in general.
But I do feel like the game is being shown in a bad light at the minute because of very -- the rules are not silly, because I keep saying they are there for everyone's protection.
But when you get players unknowingly doing thing, and they are not trying to gain an advantage, when they are simply on the wrong side of a gray area rule, you know, it's tough. It didn't show the game in a good light sometimes. There's no doubt, there's so many great things about this sport that the Rules of Golf are deep and far and there's so much in there.
It's impossible for a player to know really. It's difficult.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Graeme, thanks for your thoughts and good luck at the weekend.

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