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September 30, 2011

Graeme McDowell


Q. You must have enjoyed that.
GRAEME McDOWELL: I did enjoy it. Great company with Rory and his dad and obviously my little brother again today. The Dunhill Links is always one of my favourite weeks of the year. You know, when the sun shines, it's especially nice. Trying to stay out of the Jigger Inn, that's the first and foremost key to playing well this week, and I've managed that pretty well so far.
I enjoy links golf. Always have enjoyed links golf. Two days in the sunshine like we have just had, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie, you can't ask for any better.

Q. And it's reflected in the scorecard, as well?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I've played well, which always helps. I've been working hard on my game the last six or seven weeks and the ball has been behaving itself, shall we say.
I've been starting to hit shots like I expect to hit. The ball is being a little bit more under control than it was middle of the season. It's been a frustrating 2011 for me. I've talked about it many times, but I've gone back to my old coach in Clive Tucker with Pete Cowen still working with my on my short game and ball shaping and I'm back to a similar coaching strategy that I had in 2009 and obviously led to a lot of success in 2010.
I feel like I've got my basics back on line again and that's really been the key to playing some more solid golf the last five or six weeks. It's a step in the right direction. We haven't reinvented the wheel and I know I've got a lot of work still to do but things are looking up.

Q. Sounds like you are heading to the Home of Golf for a weekend there in a very, very positive frame of mind.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Definitely. Fingers crossed this weather can continue. Two rounds at St. Andrews this weekend.

Q. Do you want this weather to continue? Sorry to interrupt, but you are someone who has got very, very good links skills, so you can actually separate yourself a bit more if the wind blows?
GRAEME McDOWELL: The wind, bring it on for sure. Wind and rain, maybe not. I feel like it levels the playing field really because it's so hard for everyone. Fingers crossed, my office is probably the best office in the world the last two days. I mean, playing these golf courses in the sunshine and it's a pretty easy job when you're making a few birdies and enjoying a great event like the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. A great week ahead and hopefully I can contend.

Q. Spending too much time in America; going soft.
GRAEME McDOWELL: I am going soft. I used to know how to play in bad weather, no doubt about that. The golfer follows the sun and I've probably spent too long out here, I'm too spoiled and I've forgotten how to play in bad weather. But it is a skill. It's an art form. I missed the cut at Sandwich but from my couch I watched the boys battle through some of the toughest conditions possibly of the year Saturday at Sandwich.
Playing golf in those conditions, it really is an art, and it's a lost art a little bit on the Tour, but it definitely is a very important art. Hopefully an art form I don't have to use this weekend.

Q. Is there still that extra determination when you're playing with Rory?
GRAEME McDOWELL: When you're playing besides Rory, he makes the game look so easy. He came out of the gates today and birdied three of the first four or four of the first five, I can't remember which, and really had the ball under control.
I think I started with five very average pars, and you know, I needed to get going and I did with a great birdie on 6. Sort of got me going a little bit but Rory played great today. I enjoyed playing alongside him but there is that little bit of competitiveness as well.
Of course we are trying to beat each other. We are competitors at the end of the day, as well as good friends, but a lot of fun. This tournament, it's tough to get the balance with the attitude right, because it's a lot of fun. We are having a craic. I'm using a lot of emotional energy trying to take care of my little brother and making sure he enjoys himself and he's going in the right directions.
You have to switch on and off to sort of keep your concentration. I've always enjoyed that type of format as well. It's something very different and something that's a lot of fun, and like we say, when the weather is this good, it really is a special week.

Q. Another 62 in you at the Old Course?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, that would be nice, thanks for reminding me of that, Norman. That would be special. 36 holes at the Old Course, the scoring is low. You know, if the weather is half decent tomorrow -- it's always difficult going out because you know you have to shoot 5- or 6-under par to keep in touch with the leaders and you can't force the issue.
You have to stay patient and realise that the courses are set up relatively easy, compared to an Open Championship. The pins are in the middle of the greens to help some of the handicap golfers get around here, and you know, we should be making birdies, so you've got to stay patient and realise there's tons of chances. So that's kind of mind-set.

Q. What do you think of Michael Hoey's game of late?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I grew up playing amateur golf with him, I know how impressive a striker of the ball he is, he's always been extremely talented. The application sometimes was in question, but any time he got his head right and obviously got all of his ducks in a row, he typically was a hell of a player. You know, he's continuing that form and it's good to see him playing well again.

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