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October 1, 2011

Graeme McDowell


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Graeme, thanks for joining us. Thoughts on your 67.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, a decent day's work. St. Andrews is always sort of a game of two halves, if you like; one nine is going to play easier than the other. Today was the front nine which played a little bit more straightforward. Slightly downwind on the way out and back into the wind on the way in.
So I made my score on the way out I suppose and shot 4-under on the front, the highlight of which was I holed my second shot to No. 3 from about 104 yards there and just one-hopped in the hole. That was pretty pleasant. I birdied 9 and 10. Just hung on on the way in. I had a few chances. Couldn't quite take them. I missed a short one on 14, the par 5, for birdie.
I struggled with the pace of the greens today, I've got to be honest. I couldn't get a putt to the hole. They were slower than they appeared, and I just couldn't seem to get my speed right at all. But all in all, very, very happy. Three rounds of 5-under par putts me in good position going into tomorrow with a chance to contend which would be nice.
This year has not really gone the way I would like it to go but that's golf. You've got to be patient and work hard. I stuck to my guns, and the last five or six weeks have been the type of golf which I expect of myself and the type of consistency that I like to see.
So very excited to be back in contention in a big event like this one and hope for another good day tomorrow.

GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, anything, Top-5, Top-10 tomorrow would be a nice result for me. I know in my heart that I've been playing much better the last five or six weeks. The first two FedEx event, I played very solid golf. I just didn't hole any putts. I'm playing very solidly again this week. I've got a very busy end of the season.
My schedule has a lot of great events coming up. I'm just happy that I'm taking some steps in the right direction. Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll accept and I'll take some confidence away from this week and pour it into my game for the rest of the season. It's a pretty heavily-packed leaderboards, some big names up there with McIlroy and Dyson, guys like that, and Michael Hoey is going to be three ahead of us.

Q. How well do you know Michael? Rory was in earlier and said he is a great player that maybe was a little lacking mentally?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I would agree with Rory's analysis. I spent a bit of time with Michael growing up. He ended up spending a bit of time in Portrush in his early teenage years and he was always a very talented golfer, great striker of the ball, great golf swing. Comes from a very talented golfing family. Like Rory said, he's always had that talent, won the British Amateur, '99, 2000. Just never really kicked on. He did some great things his year as Amateur Champion; played great at Loch Lomond. Had some great finishes and just never really kind of kicked on.
It's difficult to know where the line is. It's a fine line between guys who kick onto become the best players in the world and the guys who become journeyman pros, if you like. But you wouldn't even describe Michael as a journeyman pro because he pops up every now and again and wins well. He's the kind of guy with a huge amount of talent that when he applies himself and puts it all together, he's as good as anyone out there. Why does he not have the consistency level? Who knows. But from what I know about him he's always struck the ball great and talented and you're never surprised to see him up there.

Q. Have you and Michael ever gone head to head?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Good question, have Michael and I ever gone head-to-head -- not that I can remember. Not that I can remember. What I remember about Michael is that he's a pretty unemotional type of guy. Doesn't get up. Doesn't get down. He was always really ice cold under pressure. I remember that about him.
Like I said, the kind of guy that doesn't get excited about anything. When the pressure is on, doesn't seem to faze him. He's that kind of guy. I don't even know the draw, if I'll even be playing with him tomorrow, hopefully I will. I might not get a chance to play with him, I might be one of the first 15 out. I would love to play with him of course and just see what he's like under the gun. I haven't played much golf with him in years. We are managed by the same company, spend a little bit of time together but really haven't had a chance to play with him much. Keeps to himself, he's a quiet sort of lad but very talented.

Q. After what happened to you in the paly-off here in 2004 do you feel this tournament owes you?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Never really felt it owed me one -- that I could win a tournament. This is one that I always look forward to in my schedule every year. I've never missed the up-and-down did you know since I turned pro and I do enjoy coming back here. It's a great week. I always say, if you can stay out of the Jigger Inn, that's priority No. 1 for the week, and the weather, if the weather is kind, and you have to get good breaks in this event. It can be raining in Carnoustie and the sun shining over here in St. Andrews. Always luck of the draw. But it's an event I feel like I can do well in and it's great to be up there I suppose.
. It's great to be going out on a golf course like St. Andrews with an opportunity to win. When I lost in a playoff in 2004 I was disappointed. I had a great week shooting 62 in the first round and the playoff didn't work out for me, but always one that I would love to win.

Q. Were you annoyed when they took the course record off you here?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Course records are what they are. They are pretty special when you go that low but kind of dubious when you change the golf course, record books, etc., etc. They have changed this golf course pretty significantly since I shot that in 2004. A lot of yardage has been added to the golf course. I suppose it's nice to have shot 62 on the old -- I suppose. Two or three of us did that. It's nice to be on a pretty unique little list.

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