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September 29, 2011

Graeme McDowell


Q. After your success last year, did it come to a head at some point?
GRAEME McDOWELL: The US PGA, things came to a head. Myself and my caddie had to have a bit of a heart to heart as to what we were doing and what we needed to change. You know, I mean, I've been kind of suggesting that we see some play for a little while. Yeah, it's a bit of soul-searching after the PGA really and that was the answer, really, Clive, a guy that understands my game very well and was probably a lot to answer for why I played well in 2010.
I worked hard for 2 1/2 years on my basics, my foundation, my golf swing to where Pete was able to get me playable last year and get me focussed on ball flight and short game, which is what scoring is all about.
But every now and then you have to go back to mechanics and make sure your body is in good position to hit golf shots. To be honest, my basics and structure and practise have been pretty awful this year, and that's what we addressed. It's feeling better.
Have I turned the corner? Yeah, I've turned the corner. But I have a lot of work to do. It's nice to take a step forward. It feels good to go out there and play well today. I'm excited about really the rest of the season and what I can maybe achieve and try to get something out of what's been a frustrating year. Patience, I know I have a bit of a path, I'm working on my game again and I'm pretty happy.

Q. Did he say you had a lot to do?
GRAEME McDOWELL: He just felt like my body was not setting up correctly. My ball position was quite far about a in my stance and that was causing some fundamental errors in my technique and my putting as well. Clive is very good on the putting stroke. Pete wouldn't be renowned for his putting coaching, he was one of the worst putters in the world when he was on Tour (laughter) and hence I don't take any putting lessons from him.
But Clive, he worked with David Howell when David Howell was probably the best putter in the world and I feel like his mechanics on the putting stroke are very good. So he's really helped me. He's came back on and he's helped me a lot. I'm back to the same structure that I had in my coaching in 2009 with Clive and my long game and Pete on my short game and that really got me set up for a great 2010.
Like I say I'm back on a path which I trust now again.

Q. What was the gap --
GRAEME McDOWELL: I finished with Clive in September of 2009. So close to a two-year gap there where things have gone pretty well.
Pete, he's just taken a little bit of a step back from the long game, more just a set of eyes for my short game and a guy I'll go to when I feel ready again with my long game. Pete is one of the best coaches in the world, there's no doubt about it. I just needed another pair of eyes and someone to coach my basics better again, you know.

Q. Was it a difficult conversation with Pete?
GRAEME McDOWELL: No. I think Pete's been through that conversation many, many times with plenty of players in this field. What Pete said to me was, you know, whatever you feel is going to make you the player you want to be again. He completely understands that sometimes you need to change an opinion, and that's what we've done.
Pete's a very understanding guy, and he knows it's been a long career. Like I say I'm not breaking my ties with Pete. I still want him to coach me but I needed another opinion on things.

Q. Another opinion, another set of eyes --
GRAEME McDOWELL: Eventually something that you feel your coach is giving you is not working, you have to try something else. It's a fickle game. Coaches teach mechanics which we as players have to translate into feels that we can go into the golf course with and how players do that.
Every player is different, you know. It's good. Like I say, that's a good score today and I look forward to trying to build up for the weekend and have my little brother beside me for the week and it's fun having him out there. He struggled a bit today and looking forward to the weekend.

Q. Pleased in some way to be back on The European Tour?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, it's nice to be back. It's been a busy season. I haven't really spent a lot of time back here. Good to catch up with some of the lads. I miss them when I'm out there in the States. I missed camaraderie here on The European Tour, some very good friends, playing alongside Simon today. Good to see it up beside him today.
I'm looking forward to a nice, busy European Tour schedule. Plenty of golf in Asia. Finishing off in Dubai so I'm excited about the end of the season, and like I say I've got more clarity of thought with my game, which excites me. Makes me look forward to the rest of the year's golf. At one point in August, I really was not looking forward to a busy schedule at the end of the season.
I was not really enjoying the sport because I could not get the ball to do what I wanted it to do. Gets frustrating. I'm excited about the rest of the year. I feel good about my game and what's going to happen this weekend, who knows but I've just got to stay patient and keep doing what I'm doing a little bit.

Q. You were saying the other day, you wanted to give The Ryder Cup a good start, too.
GRAEME McDOWELL: For a guy whose been struggling for a little bit of motivation is and a little bit of goal setting this season, somehow when the Ryder Cup qualifying went off there a few weeks back, it gets your attention and starts you focussing and helps you build towards something. I have a huge amount of respect for Ollie. I want to be part of that Ryder Cup Team very badly because I think he's going to be an unbelievable captain and it's going to be a great experience that week.
And I think it's going to be one of the hardest-fought Ryder Cup teams to be part of. I know how well I'm going to have to play to be on the team and it's given me a lot of focus.

Q. How much will you play in Europe next year?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I'm probably going to play a similar-type schedule with a slightly more European bias to it I would imagine in-between the U.S. Open and the British Open, I'll play a bit more golf.

Q. Start off in the Middle East?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I'll play a couple in the Middle East, Qatar for sure. Not a lot of money to play for out there points-wise. And I'm having a busy end of the year this year, so I might take it easy early in the season.
Really getting yourself up for that Masters through the PGA, which is the main part of the season. Plenty of golf to play and if I play well enough, I'll give myself a chance, and if need be, I'll be coming back here and play the full summer schedule and try to get myself on the team.

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