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OMEGA MISSION HILLS WORLD CUP


November 22, 2011


Graeme McDowell

Rory McIlroy


HAINAN ISLAND, CHINA

SCOTT CROCKETT:テつ Ladies and gentlemen, Rory, Graeme, thanks as always for coming in and joining us.テつ Welcome to the OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup.
Just before we take some questions, give us your thoughts being here on the week.テつ Obviously very close last year to coming here as defending champions.テつ Give us your thoughts on going one better this year.テつ Graeme, start us off.
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Obviously very excited to be back at the World Cup of golf.
It's a great week.テつ Two years ago, myself and Rory gave it a pretty good run and came up one short, and we have been excited to come back and I guess get our revenge.
It's a great field assembled here this week, some fantastic teams.テつ I know on paper, we are the favourites or whatever, but you know, this game is not played on paper and there's quality, quality teams this week and we'll have to play well to contend and hopefully have a chance to win on Sunday afternoon.
Excited to be playing alongside this man.テつ He's in great form.テつ No.2 player in the world.テつ I guess you could say I've got myself a decent partner this week.
RORY McILROY:テつ (Chuckling).
SCOTT CROCKETT:テつ And Rory, it's fair to say it's not a bad partner sitting beside you, either.
RORY McILROY:テつ No, definitely not.テつ Every time I just get to play golf with Graeme is a lot of fun for me.テつ We have a really good time on the course, and you know, I think that people can see that when we partnered each other at The Ryder Cup, and at this tournament, and at the Seve Trophy before, as well.
It's a partnership that's worked well in the past, and you know, I think we have a very good chemistry on and off the golf course, which works very well.
So I'm really excited about the week and the prospect of winning with this guy beside me, and hopefully we can give it a good run.
SCOTT CROCKETT:テつ Graeme, I suppose you only need to look at the team that beat you last year to see that familiarity does help in this event.テつ Your knowledge and friendship with Rory will be a telling factor four hopefully.
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ For sure.テつ There's no doubt, chemistry on the golf course is very important.テつ You have to be able to motivate each other, inspire each other, if we go through a run of a few holes where we are not playing great, be able to pull each other back out of these little holes; and to be able to enjoy the experience of being in contention and under pressure, and hopefully enjoy the experience of winning together.
There's nothing quite like that team atmosphere in golf.テつ It's a very individual sport, very few times do we get the opportunity to play as a team, and it's extra special, especially when you're playing alongside one of your very good friends.テつ And like I say, just to experience and enjoy together playing golf at the highest level, that's what it's all about.
SCOTT CROCKETT:テつ Rory, of course you had a couple of great moments with Graeme in partnership and you'll be looking to recreate those this week, as well.
RORY McILROY:テつ Not quite sure the intensity will be the same, but, yeah, it will be great to‑‑ just to‑‑ you know, we came very close a couple of years ago.テつ It would be great to get ourselves into the position again with a chance to win, and you know, as Graeme said, we have won a few times as individuals on the golf course, but to win as part of the team is very, very special and it's not something that we really get to experience that much.
So to be able to celebrate your wins with other people is great, and hopefully we'll be able to get that chance on Sunday night.

Q.テつ Last time at the World Cup, you were so close, and other than your team, who do you think will be the favourite team winning this time?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ You know, there's some great teams here this week.テつ The USA with Kuchar and Woodland; England; South Africa.テつ I would need to see them all written down, but I know there's at least eight or nine stand‑out, very strong teams here, and I think it's probably one of the best fields assembled here at this tournament in many, many years.
I know that they have gone every two years with this tournament now, so perhaps they have done the right thing from the point of view that it seems to have been very well supported this week.
Like we talked about earlier, we'll have to play well to give ourselves the chance to contend come Sunday afternoon, and that's what we want to do.

Q.テつ Have you two played the course or walked the course?テつ Have you seen much of the course?テつ Do you see much difference between this one and the one you won on in Shanghai at the Shanghai Masters?
RORY McILROY:テつ Yeah, we only played the front nine.テつ We got to play the front nine earlier on, so we'll play the rest of the golf course tomorrow in the Pro‑Am.
And, yeah, I mean, I think there are a few similarities between this golf course and the golf course at Lake Malaren.テつテつ Quite wide fairways, big bunker, undulating greens.テつ The only thing about ‑‑ well, it was pretty windy a couple of days there, as well.テつ I think the wind will play a big factor this week.テつ I think it's going to be pretty windy.
I think the key to this golf course is all about the second shots.テつ Most of the teams are going to find it relatively simple to hit it into the fairway, and from there the course gets a lot more challenging.

Q.テつ Regarding your wrist injury during your PGA Championship first round, are you fully recovered from that?
RORY McILROY:テつ Yeah.テつ It only took a couple of weeks.テつ I've been ‑‑ pretty much since I came back from having a couple of weeks off after that tournament, I've been fine.

Q.テつ The last time you teed it up in this tournament was 2009 and it's certainly been a whirlwind two years for each of you.テつ If I can get each of you to reflect, Graeme, on 2010 and 2011 for you, Rory, just reflect on what the last two years have been like for both of you.
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, like you say, it's been a pretty special two years.テつ Obviously both picking up our first major championships.テつ We were just talking about it coming down the ninth fairway there earlier.
It's pretty special.テつ Your first major will always be your first, and hopefully not your last.テつ I'm sure we both had very different experiences for our first major.テつ Mine was a little tougher.テつ Rory kind of‑‑ he was able to free‑wheel the back nine on Sunday, but he had it pretty much taken care of by Saturday afternoon.
You know, great‑‑
RORY McILROY:テつ At least someone thinks so.テつ (Laughing).
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ It's always hard to get it over the line.テつ It's just an amazing couple of years with The Ryder Cup, and like I say, first major.テつ Definitely, it's great experiences, and like we talk about, to put this win on the resumテδゥ would be extra special, as well.
Winning individually is nice.テつ But winning as a team is something extra special, and you know, I'm sure myself and Rory would dearly love to win this week.テつ So hopefully we can use our experiences of the last couple of years to good effect this weekend.
SCOTT CROCKETT:テつ Rory, not been a bad couple of years for you, either.
RORY McILROY:テつ No, not at all.テつ I think I have to start with 2010 and watching everything that Graeme did that year.テつ It definitely did something to me, you know, mentally, or just giving me that little bit of extra belief, seeing someone that you're so close to produce the type of golf that he did; with the U.S. Open, the weekend in Wales, winning Valderrama, closing out Tiger's event like he did.テつ You know, seeing that type of golf being played by someone that you've played a lot with, it gives you the belief that you can go on and try and emulate what he did.
I was very close to winning my first major in a couple of attempts, at Whistling Straits in 2010 and had a great chance going into the last round at Augusta this year and didn't quite happen.
So you know, it's been a great couple of years to get my first win in the States, and then back that up with my first major at Congressional.テつ It's been fantastic.テつ There's been very low lows and very high highs, and it's been great.テつ I've really enjoyed the last couple of years, and we both have had some unbelievable experiences in that time, and as Graeme said, it would be great to get a win here, you know, as a team.テつ I think it would definitely cap off a couple of very special years for both of us.

Q.テつ Two years ago at the last World Cup, you said the World Cup wasn't getting the respect that it deserved in the player lineup.テつ Looking at the lineup this year, what's your feeling about that, and has the attitude changed towards the World Cup, and what is the feeling among the players and countries that this World Cup deserves support of the best players?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, I think like I said earlier, this field seems a lot stronger than it has in years gone by, which is great start, when you've got a great sponsor like OMEGA who do some great things for golf around the world, it's good to see teams supporting this event.
You know, when you look at the flags at the back of the range and you see guys winning it, like Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, you know, it kind of puts in perspective what kind of event this is.
We take it very seriously.テつ We can't speak for the rest of the countries.テつ But we take it seriously and we would certainly love this on our resumテδゥ.テつ It's tough; there's a lot of golf to play around the world these day.テつ With The Presidents Cup last week, it's understandable that a lot of the other international players maybe haven't had a chance to come here.
But you know, I think with a biennial kind of thing, to give guys perhaps a little extra time to prepare and get their schedules ready and come and support this great event‑‑ because it is special, and you'll be putting your names alongside some very special names.
And like I say, myself and Rory both respect this event for what it is and take it very seriously.

Q.テつ Looking back two years ago, your four‑ball result, it's quite a lot better than the alternate‑shot.テつ How are you going to prepare for this year's event regarding the alternate‑shot?
RORY McILROY:テつ Obviously there's two balls in play in the four‑ball format, so you're going to always make a few more birdies.テつ You're always going to have most holes two opportunities to make birdie.
The alternate‑shot is probably the hardest form of golf to play, I'd say.テつ You're always‑‑ sort of always under pressure.テつ You never want to putt your partner in a bad position, and you don't want to hit a bad shot, because you know it let's the guy you're playing with down.
I think you really have to make your score in this event in the fourballs, and if you can pick up a 3‑, 4‑, 5‑under par in the foursomes, that's a bonus.
But, you know, this golf course, it's going to be tricky.テつ If you don't quite get the ball on the right level on the greens, it's going to be very difficult.テつ So there's hopefully going to be a few opportunities for birdies out there.テつ But maybe the scoring at this course might not be as low as it was in Shenzhen at the Olazテδ。bal course.

Q.テつ Is your girlfriend here with you this week watching you play golf?
RORY McILROY:テつ No, she's not.

Q.テつ She's playing somewhere else?
RORY McILROY:テつ No, she's just back in Europe preparing for next season.

Q.テつ Besides Graeme or Rory, any other players you would love to play with as a team some day from other countries?
RORY McILROY:テつ No.テつ Not really.テつ (Laughter).
No, I mean, I feel as if I've got the best partner for me right beside.テつ Yeah, I think we work well, and I think it's worked in the past and I'm sure it will work again.

Q.テつ Graeme, how about your girlfriend?テつ I'm kidding.
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ She's not here, either.テつ (Laughter).

Q.テつ We have a couple sets of brothers with the Villegas brothers and obviously the Molinari brothers won last time; do you feel like brothers?テつ Is your friendship more big brother, little brother; is there friendship and mentoring going on on both sides?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, I think Rory teaches me a lot of things every time I play with him.
Yeah, obviously our friendship, we have got closer as the years have gone on, sharing something like The Ryder Cup together brings people closer together.テつ We learned how to play together probably better.テつ We were very strong at the foursomes in The Ryder Cup.
You know, that's definitely one of the keys this week is playing well in the alternate‑shot format, and we actually haven't played a lot of golf this year together as much as we maybe had in the past; our schedules were a little different this year.テつ But you know, going to be playing a little bit slightly more similar schedules next year.
We know each other's games very well.テつ We know each other's strengths and weaknesses, and hopefully we can gel well this week and put a winning formula together.
SCOTT CROCKETT:テつ We also have the Santos brothers from court gal, so there are three sets of brothers.
Any questions?テつ I don't think there are.テつ Gents, thanks very much.

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