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THE IRISH OPEN


June 27, 2013


Graeme McDowell


KILDARE, IRELAND

Q.テつ 1‑under par, how do you feel about that one today?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ A little disappointed with the finish.テつ I actually hit the ball solidly today.テつ This is a tough golf course.テつ The guys scored very well this morning, 4‑ and 5‑under par.テつ You must drive the ball well here.テつ I'm not driving it as well as I would like to, but the rest of my game is in good shape.
You've got to chip well here.テつ It's very hard to hit it on a lot of the greens, and I hung in well.テつ I missed a lot of putts I could have made and I made a few that I shouldn't have made.
It was kind of an indifferent day on the greens.テつ Like I say, disappointed with the finish but all in all some good ball striking and looking forward to getting back out there in the morning.

Q.テつ You're a particular fan of the way they have set the golf course up this year; tell us why?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, I think this golf course is so well bunkered.テつ When we came here in 2005, 2006, they had perhaps a little too much rough.テつ This is all you want, this golf course.テつ There's three or four of the par 4s you're going in with 4‑, 5‑, 6‑irons to very tough, elevated greens.テつ It doesn't need a lot of rough and I think The European Tour have got the golf course set up perfect this week.テつ Hopefully the weather gods will be kind to us this weekend and we'll have a lot of fun.

Q.テつ Irish players always get such incredible support here; tell us what it's like to have thousands of people willing every putt into the hole?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ A lot of fun.テつ Obviously been an amazing six or seven years for Irish golf, all the way back to Harrington winning his three major championships, followed by Rory's success, myself and Darren.テつ People are very proud of what we have achieved.
Nice to come here and kind of hear it firsthand, and you know, they don't get a chance to see us very often anymore and The Irish Open is very special to us and we like to come and try to put a bit of a show on for them.

Q.テつ Your thoughts on day one here?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Solid golf, decent short game.テつ The putter was a little indifferent.テつ I made a couple that I shouldn't have and I left a few out there, as well.テつ Just disappointed with the finish.テつ I hit an all right 6‑iron to 17 that came back off the front and my putt kind of took off and slammed into the upslope, and I 3‑putted there.
Disappointing not to birdie the last.テつ Ripped a drive down the middle, decent 5‑wood in there pin‑high and just got a little too cute with the pitch, came out just too nice and didn't get down the slope.テつ Disappointing finish.テつ All in all some good ball‑striking but looking forward to getting back out there and tackle the golf course in the morning.

Q.テつ Is the key to playing in The Irish Open trying to enjoy it as much as possible, as well?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ I think in my younger years, I didn't enjoy it for what it is.テつ It certainly is a celebration of everything that the Irish players have achieved, certainly the last six or seven years with the major championships that myself and Rory and Darren and Pテδ。draig Harrington have gotten, the great major championships that we have all won.
To come here and get the support from the fans and getting the standing ovations that we get, it makes you very proud and kind of acutely aware of the kind of support that we do get week‑in, week‑out from the fans.

Q.テつ Key to day one is making sure no damage is done, and you're right there in the thick of it?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ I've been working hard on the game.テつ The game has not been 100 percent.テつ Been really grinding, making sure that I was ready to go today.テつ Important to get off to a decent start, like you say, and get the bit between the teeth if you like.テつ I'm raring to get back out there in the morning and try to make some birdies.
This is a difficult golf course.テつ You have to play well.テつ You have to avoid the bunkers and you have to scramble well; I did, I scrambled well today.テつ I didn't maybe drive it as well as I can, but we'll be ready tomorrow.

Q.テつ Gait to see so many Irish golfers toward the top of the leaderboard?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, it's great.テつ 25 or 26 strong field of Irish players and it's important to get some of us on the leaderboard to get these crowds fired up for the weekend.テつ So it's a lot of fun.テつ It's a great atmosphere here at Carton House and hopefully we'll see lots of faces in the crowd this weekend.

Q.テつ A little sour taste at the end with the bogey on 17; how much does that upset your supper?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, bogey on 17 and not birdieing the last, you know, sour taste, a little bit.テつ All in all, a good ball‑striking round today.
I've been really working hard on my game the few days leading up to this event and it was nice to go and hit the ball as solidly as I did today.テつ Like you say, always disappointing to finish a little sourly, but I'll be back out there first thing in the morning looking forward to the test.テつ Great atmosphere here, great crowds.テつ European Tour have done a fantastic job with the golf course setup here.
It's going to be a great test of golf this weekend, and important to get off to a decent start, which I did today.

Q.テつ Irish Open has always meant a lot to you.テつ Great to see so many good scores from Irish players today?テつ Do you think it's possible that we could get another Irish winner this week?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ I think mathematically speaking, 25, 26 players in the field, the problem abilities are right up there, but a lot of top players, Rory, myself, Pテδ。draig, Shane Lowry knows his way around this golf course for sure and many other guys like you mentioned.テつ Every chance; this is a real good test of golf this week.テつ The guy who wins will have really played well.テつ He'll have driven the ball great and his short game will have been sharp, and that says a player like Shane Lowry to me.テつ Wish him all the best, we'll be trying to catch him.テつ A lot of golf to play here and great support from the fans.テつ It's been a lot of fun.

Q.テつ Leaderboard is very compressed after day one, so really anybody's tournament, isn't it?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Today is the old clichテδゥ, you can't win it today.テつ You can only play yourself out of contention and I certainly didn't do that today.テつ I've got a few things to work on here when I go to the range, and I'll be coming up battling and ready to go in the morning.テつ It's early days,54 holes remaining and plenty of birdie chances on this golf course and looking forward to the morning.

Q.テつ There were huge galleries for Shane and Rory this morning, for yourself and Pテδ。draig this afternoon but really they only have a few players to look at here in Carton House.テつ The field is not as deep as I suppose any of us would like to keep this Irish Open at the level which it needs to be at; is that something that's on your mind?
テつテつ テつテつテつテつGRAEME McDOWELL:テつ I mean, definitely.テつ I think as Irish players, we are very supportive of this event and we, together with everyone at The European Tour, are very keen to try and bring a world‑class field to this event. There's no doubt the PGA TOUR's strength right now, but in Europe everyone is working together, players, European Tour officials, executives, everyone, we are trying to really drive and get behind the Tour, try to find dates in the schedule, try to really find sponsors and really put big events back on the map, big events like The Irish Open, trying to really take the Tour back to the level that it deserves to be at with the current strength that we have in Europe.テつ We are really proud of this tour.テつ As players, we sitting down with officials and executives to come up with dates on the schedule; sponsors, and really try to putt an event like The Irish Open really back on the map again with a world‑class field.

Q.テつ Is that a matter of looking at the American schedule, looking at the European schedule and taking count of the weeks where they have tournaments which are weaker than others, and trying to slot our bigger ones into those slots?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Let's be honest, there isn't many, but certainly after the FedEx Playoffs is a key part of the season, in and around our BMW PGA Championship is a key part of the season, and around The Open Championship.テつ This run right now of The Irish Open, French Open and Scottish Open into the British Open is a fantastic run of tournaments over here and a key run on The European Tour and we really need to be making that count, financially, field strength, profile, crowd support, media attention, everything that we can possibly do.テつ I think as players and as a European Tour in general, we are 100 percent together in trying to drive that forward.

Q.テつ Does it worry you?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ It doesn't worry me.テつ I think it's inevitable with the recession with Europe right now, it's tough times for the game.テつ But weテや况e never been healthier as a Tour, though, as far as our players are concerned. I think sponsors are really starting to sit up and take note of what European players are achieving and players we are trying to work out what we do and how do we make it better.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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