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May 13, 2011

Graeme McDowell


GRAEME McDOWELL: It was an interesting round of golf. Bit of a slow start. Didn't hit the ball well the first four or five holes, but really hung tough with some good par saves. Then I really got things going. Made the par, made the turn 2-under and birdies 10 and 11 to really get things kick started.
And 12 is just a tee shot that doesn't fit my eye much. I hit 3-wood off the tee today and leaked it a little right. Hit a tree, went under a bush, I chipped it back out and left myself one of those numbers. 60 yards to the front pin and chunked in the front bunker and made double, so that hurt. But I got myself together and hit some good shots coming in, apart from a really clumsy 3 putt on 15. On 17, I spun it off the top tier down to the bottom tier, and 3 again.
So my speed wasn't very good today. The greens felt like they were about a foot quicker than yesterday, and I didn't really adapt to that. So apart from that, I'm really proud of myself the way I reacted to the double. Made some good swings coming in, and really happy with my ball striking.

Q. Do you feel like it's turned this week for you?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, New Orleans a couple weeks ago was a low point in the year for sure. I was hitting some awful shots, you know. 15 handicap would have been about right, probably.
You know, I really had to just go back to basics with my golf swing. My coach Pete Cowan came into Orlando last Friday. We grinded. We worked hard early this week, trying to get some good feels back in my golf swing, and couple things clicked. The ball started -- I'd been starting the ball left of target, and I can't play golf. When the ball starts left of target, I'm dead.
So I got the ball starting back right of target again. I've got a chance to play golf from there. So that's really what's clicked. My striking is back, my pressure's back on the ball again, and I'm really, really happy watt way I've struck the ball the last couple of days.

Q. Can you talk about being in the mix again?
GRAEME McDOWELL: For sure. To be honest, I probably backed into most of my good results this last year, with a low one last round in Hawaii, decent run last round in Abu Dhabi, and I backed into it at the Honda Classic as well.
So I haven't put myself in position going into Saturday this year. So I said to my caddie walking to the first tee yesterday, I said I'm missing being in contention. Let go and put ourselves in contention this weekend. So really happy to be back there. That's where you want to be on the weekends.
I came in here with no expectations. After a weekend's grinding, you're never really sure if you're going to go and put it on the golf course. I've been really happy that I've stayed patient and hit some great shots.
I've given myself a lot of confidence the last couple of days and whatever happens this weekend, these last two days have been a huge step forward for me after the way I played the last six weeks.

Q. Do you think the aftermath of the Open and all the travel and success of the year finally caught up at all? Do you think it took its toll, perhaps?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Perhaps there was an element of really having to switch off. There's certainly been an element of trying to adapt to my new lifestyle, which is busier. The schedule is tough nowadays. You can play golf every week.
The demands on my time are out there a little bit more. My sponsors want to see me, and the media want to talk to me. You know, it's just a lot of fun, but it's taken a little while to adapt to all of that. I really feel the last couple of months has been about clearing my head space and really getting back to doing what I like to do best and that is just play golf.
I don't really want to get distracted by all the other stuff. The U.S. Open build-up and all that stuff has been going on the last couple months as well.
So I'm looking forward to a great schedule that I've got laid out in front of me this summer, and I'm looking forward to playing golf.

Q. With your success last year, when you go through a patch where you're not playing well like earlier this year, does it make it easier or harder?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I think it probably makes it harder. When you've played well for eight months there, maybe a really good stretch, this game certainly when things are going well, you forget what it's like when things are going bad. When things are going bad, you forget what it's like when things are going well.
It's an amazing game. Staying patient is one of the big keys. It's easier said than done. Have I been very patient the last six weeks? No. I've been frustrated. I've been impatient. I've wanted it. I didn't know what I wanted, but I wanted it yesterday.
I really just had to get back to basics and clear my head and really get back -- like I said, get my priorities straight and get back to doing what I wanted to do, and that was play golf.
My technique's been off as well. I've been swinging the golf club like an idiot. So I needed to get a bit of clarity in my golf swing, and that's what myself and my coach did last weekend. We have a good clear picture of what we're trying to achieve now and trying to move on and get some good structure back in my practice.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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