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November 3, 2011

Graeme McDowell


GRAEME McDOWELL: On 17, par 3, just tried to squeeze a 5-wood in there and just blocked it. Straight in the hazards. Had 30 feet, so tripled there. Bogeyed the first, back to level par after all the hard work. Very happy with the way I battled back and made a few birdies.
Seven birdies today on this golf course, pretty happy with that. Struck the ball well. Controlled my starting lines a bit better today which I didn't do well that week.

Q. How is this week in the context --
GRAEME McDOWELL: Very important for me. I'm playing this week and I'm five after this, so it's important to get a bit of momentum and try to finish the season strong. It's been a frustrating season for me. I've had some up-and-downs, and it would be nice to putt a bit of a shine on it.
My game really feels like it's there or thereabouts. I'm making some great swings but I'm making some awful swings. Starting to flight the ball correctly.

Q. Where on the dial would the arrow be pointing --
GRAEME McDOWELL: Backward and forward -- last weekend at Valderrama was probably one of the more embarrassing weekends I've ever had in my golf career, and Valderrama can do that to you. I threw the towel in a little bit the last 27 holes, and like I say it was embarrassing for me. I had a long time to think about it coming over here. In the back of my mind, my game is not that far away. I had some good time with Pete on Tuesday and really got my control back a little bit.
And it was nice to go out there today and make some birdies. We know this is a game of confidence. 81, 82 on the weekend doesn't do much for one's confidence. So nice to play well today and like I said, try to stake some steps forward and hopefully compete this weekend and take some MoJo into the rest of the schedule.

Q. Did you have any idea what was wrong at Valderrama before you got here, what exactly it was before you saw Pete?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I knew that last week at Valderrama, I could not aim for the right side of the golf course because I couldn't rely on my draw and I couldn't aim at the left side of the golf course because I had no fade. So I had no shot in the bag. And that's how I had to play golf last week -- and I couldn't make a putt either.
I haven't controlled the golf ball like I controlled it last year, and when I say control, I mean, aiming at a target. I've been able to shape it off that target. That's what I did great last year and that's what I haven't done well this year. I really -- the range session I had with Pete on Tuesday reminded me a lot of the range sessions we had last year. There are reasons I didn't haven't been able to do that this year and for the first time on Tuesday, I really felt my old self come back a little bit again.
Like I say, starting line -- I didn't have that at all last week at Valderrama. Specifically just working on how I shape the ball. I felt like the last couple of months I've been working on trying to -- hit a perfectly straight golf shot. As soon as you get on the golf course, you realise it's -- you aim at the left side of the fairways and right side of the greens and trying to hit draws and fades and moving the ball around. That's what I did well last year.
I've always been a person who shapes the ball around.

Q. (Inaudible.)
GRAEME McDOWELL: I enjoyed being in the mix, I enjoyed it, it was nice to be back in the moment. Hit some great shots down the stretch. For sure, I've been angrier this year with myself because I want it too much. We are all guilt I of wanting it too badly sometimes. This game has beat me up this year, there's no doubt about it. But trying to get back to believing in myself and enjoying myself a little bit.
But it's hard because you're trying to prove things and you're trying to emulate last year.

Q. So when you've achieved what you achieved last year, and all of the highs there, does that make the lows seem deeper than they actually are when things don't go quite your way as they have done this year?
GRAEME McDOWELL: The lows have felt low this year but they really shouldn't, if I look back at last year and the highs were very high last year and the lows shouldn't feel that bad. That's the thing about this game, we often don't give ourselves credit when credit is due, but we are pretty good at beating ourselves up. I think if you asked every player in this field, if they would be better at beating themselves up or giving themselves credit, they would agree with me.
We are all very good at punching ourselves when we are down. That's the game. We love it and we hate it, it's a bit of a love hate relationship and last year was certainly a love relationship. Like I say I have a good team around me who keep it real for me. And I've enjoyed the process, as well.

Q. (Inaudible.).
GRAEME McDOWELL: Learning how to handle being a Major Champion, leading the players championship by two shots going into the last round, knowing I can get it around that golf course, and hitting it as well as I did at Congressional and the U.S. Open.
I could have easily won twice this year. Like I say, leading THE PLAYERS Championship -- I've had my chances this year. That's what this game can do to you sometimes.

Q. (Inaudible.)
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, first time playing with Tom, strong kid, hits it really solidly. Struggled a little bit out there today, but you know, it was kind of a welcome to the tour. A really nice kid. Pete raves about him. Pete's told me how good he is and it's good to see him striking it today.

Q. Will you reevaluate things --
GRAEME McDOWELL: There was an element of embarrassment and an element of shape to yourself because I threw in the towel a little bit and there's an element of what am I going to do about it.
So you know, in the back of my mind, I knew I had not played that bad. I had just made a couple of doubles and a triple and I literally cannot get the ball in the hole from six feet. I knew my game was simmering under the surface somewhere, so it was a case of, I had a good chat with Pete on Monday night and knew what we had to do on Tuesday and hit the ball much, much better.

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