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May 20, 2011

Graeme McDowell


STEVE TODD: Graeme, nice to come through in the end there.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I played pretty nice today I have to say. Jhonattan held in really, really well around the turn, especially. I really thought I had him. But he hung tough with his chipping and putting, and he threw a couple of birdies at me at the end. I birdied 14 and hit a magnificent fairway trap shot on 16 to about three feet, and holes it on the last there it from 15 feet.
You know, he really asked the questions, and in a way, I was really happy to play all 18 holes today. It was really kind of a dead rubber, but at the same time, of course we are playing for our positions tomorrow morning and it's important to get 18 holes under the belt and really get a good look around that golf course and make sure I'm ready for tomorrow morning.
STEVE TODD: Thoughts on tomorrow's opponent, Rory?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, obviously there be the first time Rory and I will have had any sort of head-to-head encounter sort of at an event. I'm sure he'll expect to beat me.
It will be a great game. Excited about it of course. It's going to be definitely 'Northern Ireland Match Play Championship' tomorrow morning, and I'll be trying my best to beat him of course.

Q. Who usually wins when you play practise rounds?
GRAEME McDOWELL: He beats me. He beats the crap out of me every time we play together. (Laughter).
Like I say, he'll be expecting to beat me in the morning.

Q. Might be different under the gun, totally different thing.
GRAEME McDOWELL: I'm hoping it's going to be different under the gun for sure. Any time we do play for a few dollars or a few Pounds Sterling or whatever it might be in a practise round, he generally takes the cash.
But it's a different story tomorrow morning. It's a big event, the Volvo World Match Play and the pressure is on.
I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be great. He's a fantastic player, so talented. This golf course is all about driving the golf ball, and he's pretty good at that.
So I'm excited about it. I really played good today, very happy the way I'm swinging the club, and I really like the way I'm rolling it on the greens, so I'll give him a good game.

Q. How difficult is it to play against a guy who is such a close friend?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It's hard. It's hard, for sure. But you've got to leave your friendship in the sideline and of course we'll want to beat each other, but you know, there will be a certain amount of bragging rights we are playing for tomorrow morning of course, but it's important that you try and win for that.
It's always hard to play a friend no doubt about it. But we experience it all the time at the world match play. I played Ross Fisher at WGC Match Play. We are used to it. Once the gun goes off tomorrow morning, we'll leave the pleasantries aside and get down to business and see what we can do.

Q. Do you normally play practise round?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, we generally do play match play but I stopped playing him because he's too good. (Laughter).
I tend to be more of a meticulous kind of observer when I'm playing my practise rounds, and Rory just tends to go out and just beats me up. So I just decided I would leave those practise round matches aside from now on.

Q. Over the last ten, how many would you -- what would the score be, do you think?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Funnily enough, I actually turned the tide a bit last year, around the time I started playing good, the U.S. Open, I took a few dollars off him.
I would say I had a decent year against him last year, but a couple of years, sort of 2009, I would say I lost eight out of ten.
I would say 2010, maybe more half and half, which is pretty good for me against him. I always wind him up, saying he's one of the best Tuesday players in the world. But I always follow-up, 'You're pretty good on the weekends, as well,' let's be honest.
But first time we have played really under the gun, so I'm looking forward to it. It should be an exciting game.

Q. Will there be some banter between you boys? Will you chat? Or is it poker faces only?
GRAEME McDOWELL: There will be a little bit of banter but I think it's important that you don't get sucked in with pleasantries too much. You need to have that little bit of an edge with someone, doesn't matter who he is, whether he's your best friends or not.
You have to have that little bit of an edge, so there will definitely be a point where we'll definitely switch it off and try to get into our zone and into the game a little bit.
And you know, you've got to be careful. I mean, playing with Louis yesterday, I felt like the front nine we were getting sucked into having a bit of a chat and a crack between shots. Like I say, you need to have that little bit of an edge against someone and have that killer instinct when it comes down to it.

Q. Presumably you two will know which buttons to press, as well.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, well, you know, if it came down to it, we would know how to wind each other up for sure, but I don't think we'll probably stoop to that level.
We'll do the winding with the golf, I would say. Like I say it should be a great game. We know each other's games inside out and we know what each other is capable of, and I'll certainly be expecting him to play well and hopefully he'll be expecting me to play well, too.

Q. What length putt would you be prepared to give him?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It's weird, gimmies are a tough one, because I remember asking Louis to putt one yesterday. I said to my caddie, "Am I being a little stingy there?"
And he said, "No, he's got to make a putt like that."
I don't know, two feet, 2 1/2 feet, inside the leather, may have to measure a few in the leather, you know. You can always wind him up by making him putt a couple.
I don't know, we'll see. You really just go with the ebbs and flows. Sometimes it's a gimmie and other times you're like, you want to make a guy win it all.
So that's just kind of the art of match play and the sportsmanship, and there's little ways you can try and get inside of an opponent's head. But end of the day you just have to go and play golf.

Q. Do you think he lost on purpose this afternoon?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I think he did. I think he wanted to catch me when I'm nice and fresh in the morning perhaps. We joked about it there on the range before we went out this afternoon. We said, let's both try and win so we can see each other tomorrow afternoon -- or both lose. That would be easier to control. (Laughter).
But didn't quite go to plan. I kept up my side of the bargain. He didn't keep up his side of the bargain. So, you know, you've got to beat everyone this weekend to be honest. If you want to win this week, you have to beat them all, so bring it on.

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