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February 22, 2013

Graeme McDowell


MICHAEL GIBBONS:テつ Graeme, another very tough day on the golf course, but another very good result for you.テつ Give us your take on the match.
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ Yeah, like I said, I can't believe I've only played two matches so far.テつ It's been two very tough games, today especially.テつ Alex Noren, I knew he played well yesterday, but he put on a very impressive display today.テつ Typically tee to green I kind of had him, but he really had his‑‑ I hit it inside him most of the day, but he was really hot with the putter, made everything he looked at pretty much, and hit a lot of great shots.テつ So it was a tough game.テつ I had to play decent just to hang onto him.テつ Apart from making a mess at the 13th, I really didn't do a whole lot wrong.テつ The birdie he made on 17, I just kind of had to shrug my shoulders and say, what more can I do.テつ It was a phenomenal birdie he made there.テつ It was great to have the opportunity to birdie the last and get into tie holes.テつ It was disappointing for us both that it had to end with a mistake like it did, but it was just a great high quality game, and like I say, I feel like I've had two very long days, and hopefully got a long weekend ahead.テつ This is a physically demanding tournament if you want to go all the way in it, and looking forward to the match in the morning against Shane Lowry.テつ That should be a lot of fun.

Q.テつ As much as you felt like you were playing well and had it inside him most of the day, how much pressure did that put on yourself from the fairway on 18 and over the putt not to lose?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ You know, I felt really good about it.テつ I felt really accepting of the fact that I'd kind of given it my all for the match.テつ He hit a decent shot in there.テつ My tee shot got a little lucky if I'm being honest with you.テつ I was trying to keep it left of that trap.テつ I thought it was borderline in play for me, and I thought it was 50/50 that my tee shot was going to go into the bunker.テつ But it was right on the edge of it, it was perfect.テつ I probably couldn't have got closer to the flag than I was off the tee.テつ And luckily they had the pin in that little collection area in the front left, which with a 9‑iron I knew I needed to pitch it in right of the flag to have a chance to hit it close.テつ I hit the perfect shot.テつ Thankfully he managed to miss one for a change and give me the opportunity to wiggle that little four‑footer in to get down to tie holes.
It felt good to do that.テつ It's early in the season.テつ The great thing about this tournament is it gets the back nine on Sunday juices flowing early, early in the season, you know what I'm saying, and it's nice to ask yourself the question a few times and get that confidence from that, really.テつ Win, lose or draw today I was going to walk away feeling like I was doing the right things.

Q.テつ As we watched you in 2012, it seemed like in every major you were right there and in the mix on Sunday and almost a sure thing to finish in the top 5 or top 10.テつ What goals have you set for yourself in 2013 with respect to major tournaments?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ You know, more of the same, really.テつ I've got a fantastic schedule again this year, very lucky to be able to cherry pick the best events, both sides of the Atlantic and all over the world.テつ I'm setting myself World Ranking goals.テつ It's really hard to make an impact on both Money Lists unless you play really well in the majors and WGCs, so I'm really trying to focus myself on the World Rankings and get myself back into the top 10 and back into the top 5.テつ That's where I'd like to be.テつ I'm working hard.テつ I feel like I've made some progress in some of the weak areas of my game from last year, namely my short game bunker play, kind of between 200 and 250 yards.テつ Those are the areas I've focused hard on, and I feel like I'm making progress in the right direction.
Just more of the same this year.テつ If I could have anything like the year in the majors like I had last year, I'd be very pleased with my year.

Q.テつ So when he hit it basically unplayable over there and then ended up getting relief from the obstruction, I saw you come around behind the ball and take a look.テつ In the one moment you thought you had him, and then he gets relief, so what went through your mind as you looked to see what the line was?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ You know, we had a very similar scenario over the back of 13.テつ I kind of thinned my bunker shot over the back of the green on 13 into a bush.テつ The only shot I had was a left‑handed shot, and I got relief from a TIO, also.テつ So it was kind of a‑‑ it was one of those ones.テつ It's just kind of justice, I suppose.テつ He got his drop, and it was slightly more important this time around.テつ But you know, I couldn't argue.テつ The rules of golf are there for everyone's protection.テつ Sometimes they get you out of trouble and sometimes they put you in trouble.
I was fully accepting of the fact that the drop he got improved his position, but inevitably, like the drop I got from over the back of 13, inevitably it didn't make a difference to the hole.テつ I was still able to win.テつ And like I say, he easily won 13, also.

Q.テつ We've never had a guy beat the No.1 seed and then turn around and win his next match coming off a high.テつ Did the margin of Shane's score surprise you at all and can you talk about what you'll be up against tomorrow?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ Yeah, I suppose the difference this time around is the No.1 seed was a guy Shane knew pretty well.テつ But I know that meant a lot to him beating Rory, and he was very nervous coming down the stretch.テつ And the way he did it was pretty exciting for him.テつ That's great to see, really.
But to come out and make six birdies or whatever he made today, very impressive, to beat a guy like Carl Pettersson who's a very experienced player.テつ Shane is just that way.テつ I always think that Shane has got three or four of the qualities that are required to be a great player.テつ I think he drives the ball well, he's got a phenomenal short game, and he's got guts.テつ I really feel like he's got those three qualities, and he always has had them.テつ It never surprises me when he does things like this on the biggest stage.テつ I think he's a very quality player and he's certainly one to look out for in the future.テつ I just hope he doesn't go crazy on me in the morning.

Q.テつ There was no real intimidation factor, I suppose, for Shane against Rory, knowing him so well, and I can't imagine there will be too much intimidation for him tomorrow.テつ Will you be having dinner with him tonight?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ Yeah, I think we're having dinner together.テつ If Rory didn't intimidate him, I suppose what chance do I have?テつ But you know, it's‑‑ it's going to be a great match.テつ He's a quality player.テつ We practiced together this week.テつ I took the money in practice.テつ Hopefully I can continue that role tomorrow.
We're both playing well.テつ I'm very happy the way I'm hitting the golf ball.テつ I kind of changed my strategy coming into this week regards how I've played this event the last few years.テつ I feel like I try to force the issue a little bit too much in match play, try to do things that I wouldn't generally do in stroke play.テつ I make mistakes.テつ So I've tried to stay very patient the last two days and just play the golf course a little bit more, and it seems to have worked.

Q.テつ Is it easy to underestimate a guy like Shane Lowry?テつ He's obviously got a gym bunny or anything like that, but he's got the type of game that could be very useful in a Ryder Cup, he's the type of guy that will be pushing for something like that.
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ Yeah, you can never underestimate a guy just by looking at his physical presence.テつ I know enough about his game to know that he's not to be underestimated.テつ Like I say, he's one to look for for the future.テつ He's got a lot of great qualities in his game.テつ To come here this week and play his first World Match Play, impressive.
In Ireland, as you know, we grow up playing a huge amount of match play, and you develop a certain sense of how to play the game.テつ There's no doubt, as we play year in, year out, we become very seasoned to stroke play.テつ Match play is a different psyche.テつ It really is a different form of the game.
I always kind of thought myself as a great match player when I did turn pro, and I've had very little success in this event.テつ I haven't been able to translate that into this event just because, like I say, I've forgotten how to do it.テつ I've forgotten how to have that patience and just play the game and react to your opponent when you need to.

Q.テつ You didn't seem to forget in Wales.
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ Yeah, yeah, that was okay.テつ That was okay.テつ I kind of got in a good groove there.テつ Yeah, I was so nervous I couldn't think there.

Q.テつ Of the top 10 in the world, Bubba is the only one still around this week.テつ It's the 15th year of this tournament.テつ Should we be beyond surprises or is it still a little bit surprising?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ I always think that's the great thing about the game of golf.テつ The great thing‑‑ I was going to say the great thing and the bad thing.テつ It's the great thing about the game.テつ Compared to tennis; tennis is monotonously boring that the top four in the world are unbeatable.テつ When the No.1 player in the world in tennis plays the No.64 player in the world, it's an absolute drumming.テつ It's not even a game.
The great thing about golf, the No.64 player in the world can play against the No.1 player in the world, as we've seen this week, and give him a great game and beat him.テつ He could theoretically beat him easily, and I think we're beyond surprises in this event especially.テつ Golf is a great game.テつ It's a great game in that it's a great leveler.テつ Anybody can have a great day and anybody can have a tough day.テつ It's what makes the game exciting and it's what makes this game extremely fickle and extremely frustrating.

Q.テつ Fun?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ Fun?テつ Yeah, it's fun when you're sitting in a car coming back from a second playoff hole having won.テつ I drove past Alex Noren in the car park and he's dragging his flight bag to the locker room, and he's not having any fun. テつI sat in that locker room two out of the last three years with my bags packed and my neighbor in the locker room, his shoes are there, he hasn't even put them on yet.テつ I'll have my bags packed at 12:30 on a Wednesday, and that isn't any fun, especially when you just came up against a guy who played better.テつ It's a fickle event.テつ I can understand why guys choose to sit it out like Phil.テつ It's a tough one to sit out, but I can understand why you would sit it out.テつ It's an extremely fickle event.
But it's got to be great TV, as well.テつ One of the things we've got to remember, it's probably two or three of the greatest days of TV maybe of the whole season, followed by perhaps the weekend‑‑ with only a few matches, it gets a little uninteresting, but match play is a great form of the game.

Q.テつ There's been a bit of chat about this venue and the suitability of being here.テつ Would you like to see it move?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ Would I like to see this event moved?テつ You know, I think the geography of this event is very difficult.テつ You start moving it around the world at this time of the year, it's difficult.テつ We're sort of right into the swing of sort of West Coast, across to the Florida Swing.テつ It would be difficult to take this event‑‑ I think America works for this event just this time of the year.
Personally I'm not a huge fan of this golf course.テつ It hasn't been kind to me.テつ It's esthetically very pleasing, visually looks beautiful on TV, but it's a golf course that hasn't suited me too well.テつ Until this week, I feel like I'm kind of getting the hang of it now.テつ I'd like to see it moved around a little bit, but I don't think it works to take it out of the U.S., just Doral is in two weeks' time and all that stuff.テつ I'd like to see it move around, check out some of the really great courses here in the U.S.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:テつ Graeme, many thanks.

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