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June 3, 2011

Graeme McDowell


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Graeme, thanks again for joining us. Just start us off with your assessment.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Very, very pleased, tricky day. Slightly different from yesterday. I mean, good, stiff breeze across the golf course today. Makes the front nine play pretty tricky.
You know, I feel like I played solid. Very happy the last couple days with the balance of my game more than anything. Everything feels like it's ticking over nicely. There's no cause for alarm in any department of my game which is always nice. I drove the ball well. My iron play has been pretty solid and I'm cleaning up well around the greens.
Putted a little better today. Made a couple of nice ones, putts that you expect to make, ten, 15 feet. Saw the ball going into the hole which was nice, and I just felt like the greens putted a little better today. They were a little ragged yesterday morning, just because they are so soft. I felt like as they firm up, they are getting a little better to putt. I felt like as the greens firmed up today, they were a lot, lot better to putt. Hopefully that bodes well for the weekend and they should continue to get better. And the golf course is fast and firm, and you've got to be on your game, especially if this breeze keeps up.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Good position going into the weekend.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, Thursday and Friday are just about positioning yourself, and I would take within three or four shots of the lead going into any weekend anywhere. So to be one off the lead is a really, really nice position to be in. And you know, it's kind of mission accomplished the first two days.

Q. Other players, varying comments on the greens. Some say they are slower, should say they are variable pace; how did you find them?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I think they are reasonably consistent in pace; reasonably slow was the overall pace I would say. But like I say, I think they are continuing to improve.
I'm just not quite sure why the rest of the golf course is as fast as it is, and the greens are so soft and there's much grass on them. I'm not saying this golf course would be a good golf course if the greens were like rocks, I'm saying they could firm them up and speed them up a little bit.
Like I say, I think the course is improving as the week has gone on. It's certainly an improvement today from yesterday. Like I say, the greens; the rest of the golf course is in great shape. I just hope the greens speed up a little bit on the weekend. It will be a great test, but like I say, same for everyone, and thankfully I made a few nice ones today.

Q. There's some really high scores out there today. Are you surprised by that, or is that a sign of how tough the course really is?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, doesn't surprise me, because the wind was tough today. The wind was strong and it's a heavy wind that really your ball doesn't go through it very well. You've really got to flight the ball correctly. And it's the kind of golf course if you start throwing the towel in, it will beat you up a little bit.
There's some dangerous holes; holes like 13 and 14 were particularly difficult golf holes. 14 was probably one of the toughest par 4s you'll see today. The first few holes, I started off 5, 5. And the five on the second I hit driver, 5-iron, 7-iron to that par 5, and it was playing tricky. But I can see a high score out there for sure, if you just start not controlling your golf ball and missing fairways.

Q. Good preparation for Congressional?
GRAEME McDOWELL: This is perfect. This is absolutely perfect. I said earlier in the week, all I want to do this weekend is get into the mix and get the juices flowing, put the game under a bit of pressure, and I'll take some great positives away.
You know, I'm on a golf course I enjoy. I'm in a position that I enjoy, as well, so it's perfect preparation. I've said my game has been in good shape for the last few weeks, and it's nice to back that up with some good golf. Looking forward to it. Looking forward to the rest of the weekend.

Q. I probably saw one shot you played all day on TV. At the 10th, were you in a bunker --
GRAEME McDOWELL: Why do you always think about the negative stuff --

Q. The shot was fabulous.
GRAEME McDOWELL: That was nice. One of the boys said to me, "Seve would have been proud of that one." That was a sweet shot. Ball finished right under the front lip of the bunker, and I kind of was on one knee, sort of sitting on the face of the trap. And that was just one of those nice shots, a shot you can't really practise very often. You just have to try and sort of make it work and that was a big momentum -- that was huge for momentum, because I had just birdied 8 and 9, good save there, birdieing the next two there again. That was huge.

Q. See, that's a huge shot.
GRAEME McDOWELL: A positive out of a negative there, thanks, Brian.

Q. What was the drive on the last?
GRAEME McDOWELL: According to the radar -- Gibbo - Stat-O (laughing).
You can really get one running down there, and I only had 7-iron in, which is very pleasant. Wasn't much of a 7-iron.

Q. Have you hit longer ones?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Have I hit longer ones than that? Not many I would say. Not many. I'm sure somewhere I've hit a cart path.
I think I was leading the longest drive on the PGA Tour in 2006 at about 415 but I think that was -- what do they call that thing? ShotLink? That was a ShotLink error, that one. (Laughter) I think I hit driver and 7-iron to that point to be honest.
So I can't remember hitting much longer, but when links golf courses get fast and firm, you can really get one going and these fairways are getting very firm and fiery and you've really got to play smart off the tee.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Good luck for the weekend.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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