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July 31, 2011

Graeme McDowell


Q. Bogey on the last but otherwise not a bad round?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I hit a 6-iron all over the flag on the last and got the wind a little wrong and plugged it in the front trap. Not a very nice way to end the week I suppose. But I played some decent golf this weekend. Hit some good-looking shots and a lot of positives to take away.
These greens had me foxed right from the word go this week and I made nothing. Just simply just made nothing. Today was about the worst I could have shot really. I didn't save a lot of shots out there. I left a lot of shots, six-, eight- and 10-footers on the green and that's life. I really enjoyed the week and the crowds were fantastic, the receptions were great on every green, no complaints. It was a lot of fun.

Q. What positives do you take away from this week?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I'm talking about my ball-striking and generally just the way my short irons are feeling. You know, some really good steps forward on my short game this week. Really just the sort of attitude, the mental game I suppose, I really enjoyed myself this week. Like I say, enjoyed it, which was the key.

Q. So a lot better frame of mind than after The Open?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I talked about it, I was dejected after my Friday round at The Open Championship, because, you know, I had poured my heart and soul into my preparation and just didn't quite do it on the golf course. Putting a little too much pressure on myself. Disappointed but generally my mental game is my strength, not something I was going to hit the panic button about.
Generally I just needed to slip back into the way I was feeling last year, just kind of cruising, working hard and then just going out and letting it happen on the golf course. I did that better this week. Like I say, just didn't have it on the greens this week.

Q. How much are you looking forward to getting back?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I'm looking forward to getting back to the States actually. Firestone is a great golf course to prepare, great practise facilities. It's not a golf course that sets up that well for me. You really have to move it off the tee on golf course and it's a little on the long side for me in places. I'm driving it a lot better and a little longer these days. We'll see. Looking forward to it. It's a great place to get ready for a big week at the US PGA afterwards.

Q. And Tiger back, how much are you looking forward to competing with him again?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Great to have Tiger back in the field. He always brings an added dimension when he is playing. Great to see him back and he's great for golf and we will all be interested to see how he's doing.

Q. And birthday celebrations saved for tonight?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, kind of saved them for tonight. We are going to stay the night in Killarney tonight and fly out tomorrow. You never know, I might have a few Diet Cokes later.

Q. Been a curious week for the four Irish Major winners, from your own perspective, what are your reflections of this week?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It has been a weird week. Big expectations, the four major champions here, the Irish Open, we are all excited and just didn't quite happen. Crowds were fantastic and they really shouted us on every hole and the support was just fantastic, everything that we expected it to be. From my only personal point of view, I struggled on the greens and could not quite get it done at all.
I hit the ball pretty well at times but generally just couldn't get a score going around the golf course. But really enjoyed myself. The rest of the boys, disappointing not to have Darren and Pádraig in for the weekend. And I know Rory was the same as me, couldn't quite get firing around this golf course. But I had a lot of fun and I enjoyed the week. It was a good buzz out there and I really enjoyed my four rounds.

Q. I sense more optimism in your general demeanor in your golf game; looking forward to a couple of good weeks at the Bridgestone and PGA?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I came through a low period in my thinking more than anything really. My game has been in good shape for three months since THE PLAYERS Championship really, I led there and was close to the lead in Wales and close to the lead in Scotland. I've strung a lot of good round of golf together in that period.
And really the way I played in the U.S. Open, just nothing really to show for it, though. I got frustrated. The British Open I was a very disappointed man when I walked off the golf course there because I felt ready and ready to play well and I just put too much pressure on myself. This week was about coming down here, and to be honest with you, I really didn't take this week all that seriously. I really tried to go out on the golf course and relax and let it happen a little bit, and it seemed to work. My attitude was better and I enjoyed myself.

Q. A great week for the Irish Open and in general for the Irish Open, things are looking good in terms of what's going on in the grapevine, we might have a good sponsor next year; the date where it is now, right before the Bridgestone, right before the PGA, it's kind of a preparation event for you guys, because you've got serious things on your mind over the next two weeks, and would a different date suit you or is there any month or period you think would be better?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It's difficult. First and foremost this, week's been a great week. It's been a great celebration of Irish golf and what everyone's achieved over the last three or four years. The crowds have come out and there are thousands and thousands and the atmosphere has been great. You know it has really injected, the support and the passion back into the tournament, and the sun shone; it's been a beautiful venue.
I think we have a potential sponsor hopefully in the wings and if not, hopefully we will attract one to the tournament after this week. You know, perhaps a better date, may be the week after The Open Championship or something along those lines. The schedule is tough. It's tough to get a really, really hot date, get a really good date. Of course, the summer months, that would be a good start. But we need a decent date for this. Perhaps this is not the ideal week for it, but whatever happens from here, I think the Irish Open will be back on the map next year.

Q. Seems from listening to you that obviously you went through the win last year, this season it's been about coping with it in a sense mentally, you seem to have got your head around that now and the game feels good. It could all culminate in a brilliant end to the season for you without putting too much expectation back on you?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, putting pressure back on myself again, are we.

Q. Catch 22.
GRAEME McDOWELL: You can't try and win. You can't try and play well. You just have to work hard which I'm doing. I'm feeling good. Maybe my mental approach has not been right. Sometimes you don't realise how hard you're trying until it's all over, and like I say, maybe I walked away from The Open Championship a couple of weeks ago realising how hard I was trying without even knowing it.
So I had to throttle back on that a little bit, and this week was good practise for me as far as trying to come in here a little bit more relaxed and putting a little bit less pressure on myself. Normally I come to the Irish Open and do put myself under pressure and don't perform all that well.
This week I felt a lot better and was able to throttle back on that a little but and enjoy myself. Just didn't hole the putts on greens this week, where I perhaps could have competed.

Q. Were you happy enough with your putting stroke? Was it just the greens you found difficult?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I think my stroke is there or thereabouts. I'm going to have a closer look at it next week.
The greens, I didn't read them well, that's all. They were very difficult to read. They are quite flat and you end up looking for things that are not there sometimes.

Q. Finally just for me, next week, do you take it easy or hit the range or what's your preferred preparation at this stage?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I normally grind pretty hard at Firestone. I like the practise facilities there, they are really, really good. The greens are fantastic and it's normally a nice temperature to go practise.
So I normally hit a lot of balls next week, and I will do that. You know, I won't have too many expectations to perform on the golf course. It's not really my style in the past, but you know, again, it's part of my sort of preparation is trying to go in a little bit more relaxed and see what happens. But I'll be working hard next week and I'll be letting the result get in the way, but getting ready for the PGA.

Q. You were talking about off the tees and the shape of your ball flight, is that the kind of thing that's playing in your mind in a big way or is it an easy enough fix?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It's a pretty easy fix.

Q. What goes through your mind when things have not been going well, and you say, right --
GRAEME McDOWELL: Everything.

Q. Time to say good-bye to the coach; time to say good-bye to the caddie or mind man. Just following up on what Pádraig has done with Bob.
GRAEME McDOWELL: From my own personal point of view, when things are going tough for a long period of time, golf course is a lonely place where you can do a lot of thinking. You're out there for five, five and a half hours; it is a lonely place, and everything goes through your mind. You question everything. You question your approach to the game physically, mentally, coaches, manager, caddies. You question everything.
And I think that's part of human nature. Sometimes you come up with answers and sometimes you don't. And you soul search and we have all been there and we have all done that. I've gone through periods of my career where I've completely stripped out my team and replaced them. It's normally been met with pretty positive results.
But I look at a guy like, say, Pádraig who is very analytical. He's a real perfectionist when it comes to his preparation, as I would be; maybe not quite as much of a perfectionist as he is, but I'm very into my preparation, and I think, you know, you do, you start to question everything you're doing. Should I be working hard or less hard; am I working with the right things; am I working with the right people. Sometimes you do. Sometimes you need to change things when it's not working and freshen it up and have someone else's take on what you're up to.

Q. It's like a breakup when you sort of say, well, it's not you --
GRAEME McDOWELL: It's not you, it's me.

Q. Is it a game for perfectionists?
GRAEME McDOWELL: No, I don't think it's a great game perfectionists, this one, I really don't. But I'd call Tiger Woods a perfectionist. He's done okay with it. So I guess he probably breaks the mold from that point of view.
Is it a good game for an analytical person? It's a good game for everyone, really. There's analytical players and there's guys who don't care and really don't think too hard about the game and just go let it happen. It is a game for everyone. But perfectionism can be tough.

Q. At what point does a player tend to look at himself? Does he look at everybody else first and then himself?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Don't know. Don't know.

Q. But you now, for instance --
GRAEME McDOWELL: I'm looking at myself first. I think so. I think other place are very quick to blame people around them. I think the smart player blames himself first, and then starts -- if he can look at himself in the mirror and feel like he's doing a good job, then he can start to look at the people around him, giving him advice.
Like I say, it varies from player to player. You can't know what goes on in the mind of a crazed professional golfer, because that's what we are. Game drives us absolutely bananas, and that's why we love it and that's why we hate it. And that's why it keeps us out there grinding every day. It's a great sport.

Q. You have to be a little bit crazy, do you?
GRAEME McDOWELL: You do. I think you have to be a little bit nuts to play this game well, definitely, because I think you've got to accept that the game is a bit crazy. There's no rhyme or reason why you can feel great one day and hit it sideways and not feel so good the next day and hit it great.
It's a tough sport from that point of view and like I say you have to accept the idiosyncracies that makes us nuts.

Q. Are you a talker on the course? Trevino liked to talk. Other players don't talk. Nicklaus never talked.
GRAEME McDOWELL: I'm sort of somewhere in between. Just depends really on my playing partners. The first two days, I had Simon Dyson, a very, very good friend of mine, so we relaxed, so we talked a bit of craic for a couple hours. I think as long as you can switch on and off, it's impossible to concentrate for five hours, so you have to have a little bit of switch-off time between shots. Kenny obviously is a great friend of mine, as well, so we do generally talk a lot of rubbish between shots. I think it's good for the mind.

Q. Were you surprised to hear about Pádraig and Bob Torrance?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I was and I wasn't I suppose. Something had to break really with Pádraig. He's been working too hard to not get any results. We all know how hard Pádraig works. He is maybe the hardest-working in the game of golf. I can't think of anyone other than maybe Vijay who grinds like Pádraig does. At some point, like I say, you just need to hear something different.
So you know what I mean, I know he trusts Bob, and Bob has been there for a long time. But sometimes you just need to have another look at it from another pair of eyes.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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