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July 3, 2013

Graeme McDowell


MICHAEL GIBBONS:テつ Graeme, just start us off, obviously missed the cut last week, and given the way your season has been, you're going to win this week; is that the way it's going to go?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, the pattern's got a little kind of contrived the last five, six weeks.テつ Hasn't been the most amazing six weeks or so of golf, probably all the way back to Harbour Town.
Obviously that Volvo World Match Play offsets some really average golf for me I suppose.テつ I feel like I went into the U.S. Open a bit under‑golfed to be honest with you.テつ You know, just the fact that a few missed cuts here and there; playing a slightly reduced schedule this year.
I really just haven't had enough course time the last couple months; and that was highlighted at the U.S. Open; and it was highlighted a little bit last week in Ireland, missing by one there.テつ I thought I had snuck in for the weekend.テつ I could have done with a couple extra rounds of golf under my belt.テつ But used the weekend constructively.テつ Hit a lot of balls.
I feel like, thankfully, you know, I've got a couple of victories under the belt this year to off‑set maybe the panic button being hit.テつ It is a good thing to be coming into this run of golf fresh I suppose.テつ I've got a lot of golf coming up here the next few months and being fresh is nice.
I just need to get my competitive sharpness up and be ready to go, certainly come Muirfield in a couple weeks' time, but I'm very motivated to try and compete this weekend, as well.
So the game's not in terrible shape to be honest with you.テつ It's kind of been a fine line here and there.テつ Just sort of not everything‑‑ everything's been just a tiny bit off.テつ There's been nothing outstandingly off.テつ You know, that's equalled a few weekends off, unfortunately.テつ But you know, the motivation's there and I'm feeling hungry and ready to go this summer.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:テつ A quick word on this golf course; you pretty much need to be sharp to succeed here.
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ You do.テつ This is a good golf course.テつ I didn't get a chance to get on the course yesterday.テつ There was a Pro‑Am yesterday afternoon, but always enjoy this golf course.
I think this is my eighth time being here at The French Open, and you know, I've always enjoyed this course.テつ It's got a mixture kind of ‑‑ it has that links‑look to it.テつ It's always firm and fast, a lot of fescue around, a lot of heavy rough around.テつ You mix that in with some risk/reward stuff, especially the last four or five holes with a lot of water around.テつ It asks you to hit a lot of quality shots.
It's just a really good golf course.テつ Premium in accuracy off the tee to try and set up opportunities to come into these greens and make some birdies.テつ But very enjoyable golf course.
They do a fantastic job here.テつ Look after us really well; Versailles, beautiful town, it's great food, and what else can you ask for?テつ Fine wines, hopefully.

Q.テつ Last week, you missed the cut in your National Open; how does it feel, because the French players are in the same condition this week.
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, of course, very disappointing to miss the cut at The Irish Open always.テつ You know, obviously the fans come out wanting to watch the best Irish players play, and there wasn't too many of them left come the weekend unfortunately, and that was disappointing for the tournament.
Personally, of course, my record at The Irish Open is something I'm not particularly proud of, and something I'm trying to change year‑in, year‑out.テつ Last week was a result of nothing else but being a little under‑prepared and under‑golfed, really.テつ It was nothing to do with external pressures and expectations from the crowd, etc.テつ Golf course perhaps can't really my ideal setup either, but just as far as a golf course that suits me.テつ But, you know, you've got to deal with it.
Like I say, I birdied my 18th hole on Friday and thought I did enough to slip in for the weekend but it wasn't to be.テつ Yeah, disappointing.

Q.テつ Do you feel that you are more a PGA TOUR player than a European Tour player, golf course setup?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Not really.テつ I think there's plenty of golf courses on both sides of the Atlantic that set up for me.テつ Carton House just wasn't one of those courses.テつ It was a golf course where you had to go into greens with a lot of long irons to targets that weren't very inviting.テつ That was about the high of it, really.
There's courses in America that certainly don't suit me and courses that do, and same here on The European Tour, and that's where scheduling comes into play.
The Irish Open goes into the schedule regardless of golf course, of course, and there's just nothing you can do about that.テつ You've just got to get on with it.テつ But other guys found their way around there last week, and there are no excuses, really.テつ I just didn't get going.

Q.テつ With regard to The Open, do you need a good 72 holes here this week?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, that would be key.テつ Yeah, I think I do.テつ You know, I really don't think I can add The Scottish Open regardless what happens this weekend.テつ I've got a few commitments early next week.テつ I'm going to go to Muirfield.
Hopefully that scenario is not going to arise.テつ I've worked very hard last ten days or so, and I've probably hit as many balls in the last ten days as I have in a couple months really.
Like I say, sort of events conspired against me a little bit going into the U.S. Open.テつ I went there early trying to get some course time in and it rained so hard that the golf course, it really wasn't even worth playing.テつ I wasn't going to learn much from that.テつ And you know, hence, was under‑prepared there.
And last week, maybe went to The Irish Open just trying a bit too hard.テつ Not panicking as such, but knowing that I needed to work hard and knowing that I needed to practise hard, and I didn't really go into Thursday relaxed enough and ready to play.
Yeah, I could do with a weekend here where I compete and play four rounds, get the old juices flowing.テつ That would be ideal preparation.テつ Like I say, I'm not sure if I've got a contingency plan.テつ Hopefully I won't need it.

Q.テつ You used the phrase 'under‑golfed' last week, as well.テつ Is this something that's going to prompt a review of the whole way you approach Majors, because obviously your record last year in them was pretty good, wasn't it.
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ For sure.テつ I look at my preparation for both major championships this year, and I got it wrong.
Augusta, I actually played a little too much pre‑tournament, and Thursday and Friday, didn't feel my sharpest.テつ Potentially a little fatigued the last three or four holes.テつ Augusta, I'm not going to say it's physically demanding, but as far as golf courses go, it's a big walk and it's mentally quite a stressful golf course.テつ It takes its toll.
I played a little‑‑ I over‑prepared a little bit and wasn't as fresh as I needed to be at the U.S. Open like I just talked about.テつ I didn't get enough course time in.テつ I was there the Wednesday before, played it in nice conditions.テつ
テつテつテつテつテつテつ I think you've only got to look at the fact that No. 1 and 2 in that tournament:テつ Justin got in Tuesday night and Mickelson got in Thursday morning; that says a lot about where you needed to be.テつ You didn't need to be in Philadelphia to get ready for Merion that week.テつ You needed to be somewhere where you could practise and get ready, and like I say, Mother Nature kind of conspired against us a little bit.
So I got it wrong for the two major championships this year, and in attempt to replicate what I did last year.テつ I took weeks off before.テつ I kind of got in there, did my homework, etc.テつ It just didn't work out.
So I think preparation, scheduling, is always a work‑in‑progress.テつ You're always learning.テつ You're always making mistakes.テつ You've just got to make sure you don't make those mistakes again I suppose.テつ I suppose that's one of the great things about this game; you're always learning.テつ You're all getting information to apply to upcoming majors and to next season.

Q.テつ Is there a perfect way of doing it, or is it just how you are feeling at the time?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, I think you can spends your time trying to perfect it, preparation for the Majors.テつ I think you just have to try to find a little bit of a formula that works for you.テつ Let's be honest, they are such difficult tests.テつ Merion was a really high‑tariff test.テつ You didn't need to be off by much for that golf course to really expose you.
Like I say, on reflection, you know, I was under prepared come Thursday and the golf course did expose me a little bit.テつ And what would I have done differently?テつ I felt like I was doing the right thing coming in Monday lunchtime.テつ I was going to play 18 holes Monday afternoon.テつ Got there in torrential rain and couldn't do anything in the end.テつ Tried to hit balls for half an hour on the range.テつ It was crazy stuff.
There's no perfect formula.テつ It's only a perfect formula if you're standing there with the trophy on a Sunday night.テつ That's the only way you can look back and go, I got things right this time.テつ U.S. Open last year when I finished second, played Memphis the week before and missed the cut.テつ That ended up being the perfect formula.テつ Got to San Francisco and prepared a little extra and was able to kind of relax a bit more Tuesday, Wednesday, and nearly got the job done.
So, you really don't know.テつ It's strange; do you play the week before, do you not.テつ It's just a work‑in‑progress, really, I suppose.テつ It's very difficult to get it right for every major.
You know, U.S. Open this year, I was applying my formula, and that formally just didn't work this time because of the weather.テつ The weather just blew me out of it completely.

Q.テつ Pebble you were there the weekend before, and you said last year at Olympic you were there the weekend before; is that the way you're going to do Muirfield?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ I'm going to go to Muirfield next week and play 27 holes, sort of Tuesday‑‑ it's funny, because every major's different.
To me The Open Championship is probably the only major championship that the golf course is ready sort of three or four weeks previous because it's kind of firm and it's got the rough up and it's nearly up to speed.テつ Augusta is never up to speed the week before.テつ The U.S. Open, you're never really sure what you're going to get there and it's difficult to pre‑prepare.
I always think The Open is a little more predictable in that if it's going to be fast and firm next week, it's already fast and firm this week.テつ So I think going in the week before is probably a little bit more beneficial than it would be for some major championships.
I'll go in and be there Monday of next week at Muirfield.テつ I'll play 27 holes next week and I'll play 27 holes, 18 Tuesday, nine Wednesday, that's kind of my plan.
Course time is important for me.テつ So playing the golf course three times is a nice number, generally.テつ I'm a guy who, doesn't find it on the range.テつ I'm a guy who finds it on the golf course.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:テつ Graeme, we hope you find it this week; good luck.

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