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July 4, 2012

Graeme McDowell


STEVE TODD:テつ Welcome to Le Golf National.テつ It's been a hectic couple of weeks, U.S. Open, and then last week.テつ Have you come up for air yet?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, it's a busy time of the season, for sure.テつ This is really the sort of meat and drink of the season, from the U.S. Open through the US PGA, it's a good time of the year to be playing well and feeling good.
In many ways, I've travelled less this year than I've ever travelled, at the start of the season, and sort of after the Masters.テつ So, I'm feeling really good.テつ I'm feeling fresh.テつ Feeling healthy and ready to go.テつ The U.S. Open was a great run.テつ Obviously came up one short there.
But the Irish Open last week was just a fantastic week in many regards.テつ Of course, I would have loved to have played better.テつ The weather kind of beat me up a little bit on Saturday, and it was nice to bounce back with a nice 66 on Sunday.テつ But I really didn't putt well on the Thursday, Friday.
But it was always going to be a tough week emotionally.テつ There's a lot going on outside the ropes and maybe just trying a little too hard to give the fans what they wanted last week, but it was such a successful week in many ways, and it was very, very enjoyable.テつ Speaking to the other players this week, the feedback has just been fantastic.
Hopefully that strengthens the case to obviously get the Irish Open back as soon as, and strengthen the case going forward for The Open Championship; fingers crossed.
But moving on, great to be here this week.テつ This is a golf course I've always enjoyed coming back to.テつ Very tough test of golf here.テつ You've got the rough that's particularly tough this year, fast and firm golf course.テつ You've got to hit it in the fairway and from there you have a chance to score.テつ I'm definitely looking forward to the test this week.

Q.テつ There's probably going to be lots of rough, this week and next week.
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ I think this might be a better test, a better place to get ready for the British Open.テつ Taking nothing away from Castle Stuart, I enjoyed that last year.テつ It was a beautiful place, beautiful golf course.テつ A little wide open off the tee.テつ I think this focuses the mind a little bit as regards getting it in play off the tee.テつ I would expect Lytham‑‑ I haven't been to Lytham in about 13, 14 years.テつ I played the Lytham Trophy there once in about '99, '98, something like that.
Speaking to my caddie, Lytham is going to be a threader's golf course; you have to really place it well off the tee.テつ This week is very similar to that.テつ You have to thread it and take shots on a little bit and if you miss them, you're in trouble.テつ This is firm and fast; it's links‑ish.テつ Maybe not‑‑ it's got links elements to this place, for sure, and I've always thought and I've always enjoyed this golf course for that reason.テつ It's not going to blow too hard this week.
But going into the U.S. Open, my plan was if I had a good U.S. Open, I was not going to play the Scottish.テつ It was really a Ryder Cup kind of play for me.テつ It wasn't even preparing for The Open as much as it was trying to make sure I was in The Ryder Cup race.テつ When I had a good U.S. Open, I quickly decided not to play the Scottish.
I'm going to go to Lytham next week for a couple of days.テつ What I found at Olympic this year, when the golf course becomes such a difficult test, it's beneficial‑‑ Memphis was probably the best cut I ever missed.テつ Got me into Olympic early.テつ I was able to do my homework.テつ I played the golf course three times before the tournament and I think that was beneficial, because it was such a tough test.
I think you've really, really got to learn your way around these golf courses, and Lytham, I'll spend two days over there next week and take the pressure off me a little bit, Tuesday, Wednesday, before the tournament.

Q.テつ Is it a factor that you're going to be playing four great golf courses, starting at Olympic, or would you have preferred to maybe have had somewhere‑‑
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Not really.テつ I think getting mind‑set correct is kind of half the battle when you're playing tough golf courses.テつ I love the fact that‑‑ Portrush last week, I suppose, it was fairly benign, Sunday especially, and you could kind of go low there.
But the U.S. Open‑‑ I made a double or two here or there, and I think‑‑ I would describe this golf course as semi‑U.S. Open‑esque tee‑to‑green.テつ I think it has that sort of miss‑a‑fairway, you're probably going to just have to drop it back in play and make par from there.テつ It's pretty penal off the tee.テつ The greens are fairly big targets.テつ If you can't hit it in the fairway, you can't score on this golf course.テつ It's going to be a mixed bag.
And then obviously into Lytham, which would be imagine a really, really difficult test of golf.テつ There's no real bad tournaments between now and‑‑ to be honest with you, my schedule is so good nowadays, I don't really play bad tournaments at all.テつ But some great stuff to look forward to between now and The Ryder Cup.テつ Really it's good stuff.

Q.テつ Do you find you can keep that mental attitude up for a stretch as long as that?テつ Obviously it must have been a down slightly before you went to Portrush after the U.S. Open, but do you find it easy to pick it up?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ I think so.テつ The last three seasons, I've put myself into kind of a six‑, seven‑week stretch at the end of the year which I've come through very well I feel like.テつ I guess from the point of view of mental stamina, I'm pretty good at switching on and off.テつ I like to kind of switch off Sunday night and Monday and really just recharge the batteries a little bit and then get the head screwed back on again by Tuesday and away we go.
I think it's important to rest and kind of use your downtime as well as you possibly can.テつ But physically, it shouldn't be too demanding.テつ It's golf, and it shouldn't really be too hard to walk 18 holes.テつ It really is just a mental fatigue, for sure, because if you're playing well, I think mentally, it's easier to kind of keep going.
If you're kind of in and out a little bit, it can frustrate you and wear you out pretty quick.テつ But thankfully my game has been in decent shape.テつ I feel like I'm hitting the ball fairly well, and I've no problems playing plenty of golf between now and the end of September.

Q.テつ Confidence has to be better than it was six weeks ago before Olympic?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Going into Olympic, I came off the back of missing the cut at PLAYERS, missing the cut at Wentworth, missing the cut at Memphis; not ideal, really.テつ I guess in my heart I knew I was playing better than that, and I kept saying that to everyone but you can only keep saying that for so long.テつ You've got to then produce some results.
Olympic kind of started to reinforce to me that I am playing well, and even last week, I think tee‑to‑green I hit the ball very well last week.テつ I struggled on the greens a little bit.テつ They were slow.テつ They kept them slow on purpose really because of the wind forecast.テつ At the minute I'm struggling on slow greens a little bit.
Some of my best putting weeks came probably at Olympic where they were super fast.テつ It used to be, I was a bad fast green putter and a good slow green putter, and I'm kind of nearly the opposite now to where when I get on slow greens I struggle a little bit and putt better on fast surfaces.テつ
Added a little bet of weight to my putter in Portrush last week, so I might look at doing that again for Lytham.テつ I've taken the weight off this week because they are quick‑ish this week.

Q.テつ Two weeks later from the U.S. Open, your second place, was it a boost of confidence or a disappointment?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ It's a boost of confidence for sure.テつ I wasn't even hugely disappointed at the time because I had kind of played my way out of it through nine holes on Sunday.テつ I was 4‑over par through nine holes and my U.S. Open was just about dead and buried, and I guess the way I did it to grind as hard as I did on the back nine and make a few birdies.テつ And threw a couple of mistakes in, as well.
But in a funny way, the way I did it kind of gave me a lot more satisfaction than maybe to have thrown a couple late bogeys to finish second, which would have been devastating.
But the way I did it, of course, I would have loved to went one better, or I would have taken the playoff for sure.テつ I was disappointed, yes, but took a huge amount away from that, huge amount of confidence.

Q.テつ So if there is one thing to be changed on Le National in order to host a future Ryder Cup, what would it be?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Well, I think they are going to host a future Ryder Cup, aren't they.

Q.テつ What should be changed?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ What should be changed‑‑ nothing.テつ I think it's a fantastic venue.テつ I think The European Tour, generally the players feel that this is going to be a great venue.テつ I think it's a tough golf course with plenty of rough which suits the European kind of players.テつ I think the last four holes here, the natural amphitheatre that is created, this golf course has that stadium effect to it, no doubt about it.
We were actually playing the 18th hole last night in the Pro‑Am coming in and were talking about what it might be like to have 40,000 people around that hole.テつ It's going to be a fairly intimidating par 4 to finish.テつ So it's going to be a great match‑play course.テつ I wouldn't change a thing.テつ It's going to be great.

Q.テつ Fancy being an anchor man that week?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Would I fancy it?テつ Bring it on.テつ Bring it on‑‑ yeah, right.テつ (Laughter) of course, you know, I would love another‑‑ like I say, it's one of those things, obviously I look back on the 12th match at Celtic Manor as one of my highlights of my career, it is the highlight of my career so far.テつ But it's the old hero/villain kind of scene, isn't it, there's going to be one or the other, and thankfully I just got lucky that day and managed to be the hero.テつ But could have just easily been the villain.
Absolutely, I love The Ryder Cup, and it was a huge goal of mine this season to be on The Ryder Cup Team, and I'm 90 per cent of the way there, so just got to keep my head down and hopefully I'm going to be in Chicago, and I want to play many, many more Ryder Cups.テつ They are just the best tournaments in the world for me.
STEVE TODD:テつ Thank you.

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