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February 1, 2012

Graeme McDowell


MICHAEL GIBBONS:テつ Graeme, thanks for joining us today.テつ I believe you played the Pro‑Am this morning.テつ How is it looking out there.
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ I did.テつ I had a 6:50 Pro Am time this morning, and it was pretty breezy from the word go out there.テつ I heard the news yesterday there wasn't much rough on this golf course, and I was pretty disappointed when I heard that, but if it's going to blow as hard as it's forecast to blow, I think maybe it's a good thing there's not a lot of rough because it would be a pretty long weekend out there.テつ This golf course is always pretty difficult.
It's been a couple of years since I was here, but I've always liked the way this course has set up for me, like I said, with the wind and with some decent rough, but the golf course is in great shape.テつ Greens don't look great, but they actually putt very well.テつ You know, of course the weather is going to play a huge factor the next couple of days by the sounds of things, so hopefully we'll get lucky and avoid shamals and such and it's set to be a good event.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:テつ Talking about luck, nice Back 9 last week.
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah.テつ The Back 9 on Sunday there was certainly one of my more fortunate ‑‑ it was more like the back seven, probably one of my more fortunate seven holes I've ever played with a hole‑in‑one.テつ I played some nice golf coming in, actually.テつ Obviously quite a nice break making an ace like that, and of course, my third shot to 18 was definitely the luckiest shot of my life, if not my career, certainly my golf career.テつ And you know, a little ricochet off the grandstand to six feet for a regulation birdie is always nice.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:テつ Overall it was a good start to the season?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ That was a great start to the season.テつ I actually hit the ball really well Thursday, Friday, Saturday.テつ A little scrappy at times on Sunday, but I exceeded my expectations last week as to where my long game is.
The putter was a little cold, actually.テつ If I could have putted better, I might have had a chance to compete.テつ I was always really on the fringes of competing.テつ I never really got into the mix as such, but a strong finish.テつ And I tied third I think for the second year running there.
Abu Dhabi has gone from a golf course which I used to come and miss the cut every year to a golf course which I can actually get around now.テつ So I think as the rough's got thicker and thicker there, I've started to enjoy that golf course a lot more.テつ So solid start, and I'm hoping to build this week.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:テつ Take some questions.

Q.テつ As you said, a solid start.テつ After last year what are your expectations for this year?テつ Where do you see your game at?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Last year I had frustrating moments for sure, but I felt like I finished the season out strong.テつ You know, I was really trying to take some good momentum into the start of this year.テつ I've rested up nicely over Christmas and I was feeling very fresh coming into last week, and you know, I learned from a lot of mistakes last year as to expectation levels, where they should be, my patience levels, and really just trying to think better really, I suppose, you know.
I set myself some targets last week just to go out and try and accept whatever it was going to throw at me, try and get in a relaxed mood on the golf course, really just be ‑‑ blasテδゥ is the wrong word, but you have to care a bit less to try and just enjoy the game really, I suppose, you know, to care a bit less to try and just enjoy the game, I suppose you know.テつ All you can do is just prepare hard and work hard and just go out and try and let it happen.テつ If it doesn't happen, you work out why and you move on.
So I got a bit frustrated at times last year, and this year one of my big goals is to try and be a lot more chilled out, relaxed and enjoy a bit more on the golf course.

Q.テつ And what about this new game?テつ You talked about the long game.テつ In terms of last year, were there things you weren't happy with about the game that you've improved in the off season or that you saw some signs of improvement last week?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah.テつ Last year it's very tough to put my finger on just what it was in my game that was off.テつ You know, it was kind of just week to week really.テつ Short game's a little loose sort of the middle of the year.テつ I really didn't hole the putts.テつ I put myself under a little too much pressure probably on the greens, and that was really it really.
My long game was kind of there most of the season.テつ I just didn't put it all together.テつ There was no panic buttons.テつ There was no kind of like I've gotta go rebuild my golf swing over the off season here.テつ It wasn't a long enough off season to do much, to be honest.
I really didn't play a lot of golf on the few weeks off, relaxed a little bit and hit the gym, and I just kind of got the body fired up for the new year, and no, there's no major swing overhauls, just more the same really, chipping away at it.

Q.テつ Was that just the pressure of expectation last year, because it happened in '10.テつ The same expectation must be there this year?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ What's that?

Q.テつ Was that just the pressure of the expectations last year after what happened in 2010?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, for sure.テつ I was certainly a victim of my expectations last year.テつ My expectations were up there and my patience were down there, and should be the other way around really, you know.
Doesn't matter how much you promise yourself that you're not going to fall into these pitfalls that we all know are out there.テつ I just got a little frustrated with myself in the middle of the year, I wanted it too much and got in my own way really, you know.テつ It was more of a result of thinking badly than it was of doing anything particularly technically badly.
I just kind of got frustrated quickly, and like I said, just kind of wanted it a little bit too much, and kind of when the U. S. PGA came and went and the major season was over, I kind of really relaxed a little bit and played some good golf towards the end of the year.
As soon as I took the pressure off of myself, I felt a lot more comfortable and started to play better.テつ Like I said, it was a learning curve last year.テつ You know, when I reflect and count up the world ranking points that I accrued last year, it wasn't a disaster season at all.テつ It just felt that way.
It did.テつ It felt pretty bad at times.テつ But it was more the middle of the year.テつ There was a four‑or‑five‑month spell in the middle of the season where things were a little bit pear shaped, but the start of the season was strong and the end of the season was strong, and overall I came out feeling pretty decent about 2011.

Q.テつ Do you have eyes on the Ryder Cup this year?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah.テつ I think that's a big goal, for sure.テつ You know, I'm nicely in the mix, which was where I wanted to be.テつ You know, it's definitely a goal for the season.テつ Outside of the major championships, the Ryder Cup is probably next on my priority list.テつ I know if I'm on that team in September I'll have had a decent season.
It's going to be probably one of the most competitive teams in many years, and there's so many top players here in Europe and the strength and depth in the field is there for all to see, and there's going to be good players are going to miss that team and I don't want to be one of those players.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:テつ All right.テつ Thanks, Graeme.

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