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May 15, 2013

Graeme McDowell


MICHAEL GIBBONS:テつ Welcome back, Graeme.テつ Give us your thoughts on the golf course first.テつ You saw it yesterday and you saw it today.
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, played 18 yesterday; 18 today obviously.
Obviously it's a stunning, stunning location.テつ I kind of watched a video on the website and Gary Player waxing lyrical about the many golf courses he's done around the world and just how special the location is here; I'm inclined to agree with him.
Came in on helicopter on Monday which was pretty special.テつ Got a chance to see this amazing piece of land from the air really, and it's a nice golf course, as well.テつ It's tricky.テつ There's a few╩‑‑ there's a lot of other clubs off tees and you've really got to position the ball, and it's interesting, no doubt about it.
I think it's a really well done golf course.テつ I think it's going to╩‑‑ certainly I don't think it would fit a 72‑hole event stroke‑play format.テつ I think it would be pretty difficult out there, especially if the wind got up, but I think it's going to be a fantastic match‑play golf course and it's going to look extremely good on TV which is most important for Volvo as a sponsor.
I think it will be certainly a great advertisement for golf in Bulgaria, as well.テつ That's certainly an emerging country from a golf point of view and hopefully they will enjoy the week.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:テつ Your thoughts on the tournament itself, obviously in good form with your victory and being been to the final last year, you'd obviously like to go one better.
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, form is really good.テつ Missed the cut last week in Jacksonville but just never really got going there.テつ The golf course didn't setup that well for me last week in the end but form is generally good.テつ Game is ticking over nicely, taking some nice form.テつ Nice to be back in Europe for a couple weeks.
This match‑play format is obviously a little fickle so you just have to take each game as it comes really.テつ You certainly can't take anybody lightly this weekend.テつ Just hope to kind of get out of the group stage and get off and running really.テつ I think this golf course sets up well for me and probably better than Finca did last year.テつ I think it was a little bit of a bomb's away‑type golf course and this one is a little more precision, which should set up well for me, so looking forward to it.

Q. Obviously you have seen the draw, what's your opinion╩on your opponents?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, good player.テつ Like I say, you can take nobody lightly this week.テつ Chris Wood obviously won earlier in the year at Qatar, good player.テつ Like the way he plays.テつ And Stephen Gallacher is kind of one of those streaky players; when he gets going, he's hard to beat.テつ He's long, strikes it great.
No easy matches this week, there really isn't.テつ Just a case of getting out there and hoping you can get the job done.テつ But two tough matches.テつ I don't think there's such a thing as an easy group looking down the list, so just have to putt my head down, Thursday, Friday, and hope for the best really.テつ Two good players, looking forward to playing them.

Q.テつ Do you have to adjust your game when you play matchplay?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Well, they are two different╩formats I thought of myself as a good match‑play player as an amateur for sure.テつ We played a ton of match‑play golf as amateurs growing up and everything seemed to be formatted probably too heavily towards match play.テつ And then when you basically kind of get into the pro ranks, everything is kind of heavily weighted towards stroke play.
So there certainly is an adjustment in sort of mental approach.テつ Probably been a little guilty in my early years of professional being too aggressive in match play and taking on stuff that perhaps I wouldn't generally do in stroke play.
And I think it's about striking the balance between aggressive; between playing the man and playing the golf course.テつ Kind of got my head around that a little bit better this year in Tucson.テつ I got a little bit of a run going there in the Match Play, so hopefully I'll be using that strategy again this week.
I think match play, there's no doubt, it is slightly different.テつ You do play the golf course, but you also play that you have to react to the man a little bit, as well.テつ I think really it boils down to putting.テつ I think the great match players that have come and gone and are still around, typically the putter is a great leveller, and I think the guy who wins here this week will putt well, so that's key.

Q.テつ Two questions, how are you finding the greens here?テつ And with the aggression, you obviously don't want to give the holes away by being too aggressive; is that correct?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, for sure.テつ Question 1:テつ The greens are good.テつ Good surfaces on them.テつ They are quite tough to read actually, so I spent the day really trying to get my head around the reads.
I think when you have got a golf course with this amount of elevation change visually, you can kind of╩‑‑ the greens obviously get cut against the slope, and they are quite difficult to read pace‑wise.
So I spent a lot of time on them today, got the hang of them and I feel like I can get the putter going a little bit for sure.テつ Really good surface on them, though.テつ They are not super‑fast, but they are unduly late.テつ It's a good balance there.
This golf course will kind of dictate to you how aggressive you can be.テつ It's tight off the tee in places.テつ Good mix.テつ It's going to be a really good mix of short par 4s, long par 5s good, par 3s.テつ There's a really good balance of stuff out here, and like I say, you just have to react accordingly, play the course as it comes and react to the man if he does something good or he does something bad.
I think it's going to be, like I said earlier, it's going to be a fantastic match‑play venue.

Q.テつ Did going to America help you progress as a player?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ I think it turned out that way, going to college in America was a good transition period for me.テつ Like I say, I think I was a little too weighted towards match play.テつ Yeah, I think it's probably an unfair╩‑‑ I mean, it's a good way of measuring how good a guy can be.
But I think certainly 72‑hole stroke, there should be more of it in Britain and Ireland.テつ I know in Ireland, we switched a couple of our events back to 72‑hole event stroke, really trying to take the weight off match play a little bit.
College for me was certainly a big turning point for me, three years, playing 12, 15 times a year; coming home, playing my summer golf, I certainly got my head around what it was╩‑‑ it was a good testing ground for coming out here, still plays the ultimate test, card in your pocket, four days, a lot can go wrong in this sport.
Match play, like tennis, it's kind of like you hit a few bad shots and get away with them, and stroke play, every one counts obviously so that's definitely important.

Q.テつ You and Shane of course are really good friends; in some ways╩‑‑ is it good in some ways that you play at opposite ends of the draw?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ All four Irishmen were in the same bracket in Tucson, which, yeah, it's a little disappointing because you know you're going to have to play one of your friends eventually if you want to go all the way.
Yeah, playing Shane╩‑‑ it's pleasing to be able look at the draw and say, hopefully see you Sunday afternoon.テつ That would be obviously very special.テつ Played 18 holes with him yesterday and he's a great player and proved how good of a match‑play player he is earlier in the year.
That would be sweet, but there's a lot of guys that are going to be expecting to be there Sunday afternoon, as well.

Q.テつ Does it excite you coming to a new place, the thought of playing a golf tournament in Bulgaria, it's a little bit off the wall; a few years ago, you would never have imagined it.テつ Does it excite you coming to new places like this, seeing new places?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ I think so.テつ It's what The European Tour is all about really.テつ We have certainly been╩‑‑ we have certainly been taking tournaments to new events, to new places around the world, sort of pioneering some professional golf in the Asias and some amazing places really.
It's cool to be able to come to a place like Bulgaria, somewhere where I've never been before, experience a new culture.テつ You know, introducing them to golf really.テつ I mean, we are talking about a nation who certainly don't know very much about golf.テつ So like I say, I think that's what's great about The European Tour.
It's certainly why I think this is a great sort of learning experience for young pros and I think The European Tour certainly broadens your horizons.テつ The PGA Tour can be a little one‑dimensional, great conditions every week; same conditions every week, weather and hotels and restaurants and I think what's great about The European Tour is all new cultures and new environments and new places that we play.テつ You've got to adapt your game and you've got to dig in there sometimes.
And the camaraderie that this tour kind of promotes because of the way we travel, I think that it's what's very unique and it's what's great about this tour and why we are certainly trying to get behind it and try and put it back on the map again as far as getting some╩‑‑ we need sponsors like Volvo in golf really trying to carry us through what is a tough time right now, no doubt about that.
So we appreciate these kinds of sponsors who are really looking to grow the game globally.

Q.テつ Did you hit it close at 8 this morning?テつ How would you compare that with 7 at Pebble Beach?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ It's like an overdrawn version of the 7th at Pebble, isn't it.テつ It's 7 at Pebble and sometimes about three or four, and it plays 44 yards downhill.テつ Then you kind of have to factor in wind, and does that make it play more downhill or less downhill. テつIt's a pretty unique hole.
It's going to be, like I say, it would be a tough stroke‑play golf course, there's no doubt about it.テつ There would be golf balls flying everywhere, literally.テつ It's going to be a good match‑play course.テつ There's going to be concessions in the middle of the fairway here, there and everywhere.
Just got to keep your golf ball in play.テつ If this wind kind of blows like it did this morning, kind of early on, it's going to be interesting.テつ So I think it's good.テつ It's going to be fun.テつ It's going to look great on TV.テつ I quite enjoy the golf course.テつ It's quite fun.テつ I think it's going to be a nice little advertisement for Bulgarian golf for sure.テつ It's certainly not somewhere that people will think of as a golfing destination.
So they might win a few fans over this week by watching on TV, it will look cool.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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