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July 19, 2013

Graeme McDowell


Q. Give us your thoughts on what looked to be a battle for even par?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: Yeah, I mean I think battling pretty much sums up the way you've got to play on this golf course. You know, I struck it much better today, I had more control on my ball flight. I did some work last night with Pete. And got the ball a little more under control. I was a little frustrated coming in yesterday that I didn't hit the shapes I wanted to hit. This morning I did that better. I left a few out there, but all in all I was very happy with the general ball-striking today, the way I got it on the fairways. I took my medicine when I was out of position. And I was going to say slightly more enjoyable this morning. I enjoyed it as much as this golf course allows you to enjoy it. It's very, very difficult. You've got to play extremely well here to score. And I certainly watched how it was done the last couple of days from TW. He was pretty impressive.

Q. Easier today than yesterday when you were out?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: Yeah, greens were significantly slower this morning. I want to say they were at least two feet slower, Stimp-wise. I left a lot of putts short. Very tough to adapt to the slightly new conditions this morning. I'm not going to say the greens were soft or receptive, they certainly weren't. But the fire had kind of gone out of them. It will be interesting to see what happens to them here this afternoon, to see if the guys experienced what we experienced late on last night. But there's no doubt they were significantly slower this morning.

Q. Pleased to be here for the weekend?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: Yeah, not like me to make a cut. So I'm pretty happy with that. Get your money on me now (laughter). I only win when I make cuts, apparently. I'm very happy to be in here for the weekend. I certainly didn't want to be sitting at home watching this on TV this weekend. I'm ecstatic to be here, it's going to be a beautiful weekend. This golf course is going to get nothing but tougher and tougher. If I can go out tomorrow and shoot a number about, who knows? It's tough to see the leaders getting beyond 4 or 5 under par. Literally anything a little under par could win at this point. We saw how difficult it can yesterday. After today, I'd imagine they can sort of let the hand break off and let the golf course accelerate away from us. It will be interesting to see what happens this weekend, but I don't expect the scoring to be much better.

Q. What do you think you're going to have to do over the weekend? If the scoring quite difficult over the weekend as it is now, what do you have to shoot?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: I'm 4-over, I'll need to be targeting 4-under par. 267 is realistic to have a shot. Certainly doable in the morning. I saw that this morning. If I could have putted a little better this morning, I could have easily shot 2- or 3-under par. There's a score out there, for sure. It was just good to see the ball behaving itself a little bit this morning. Like I say, just couldn't get it to the hole on the greens. Left a few putts out there for sure, but was generally very, very happy with the way I played this morning and the way I ground. I was a little disappointed when I came off the course last night. Spent an hour on the range with Pete, and worked things out. Was able to come out and execute this morning.

Q. Would you like them to water the course again tomorrow morning, the way they did this morning? Later start is going to be tough, you're going to be in the middle of the pack.
GRAEME MCDOWELL: Like I say, whatever they did last night, this morning, to try and settle this golf course down a little bit from what happened yesterday afternoon, I imagine they'll do less of that going into tomorrow. They'll be less afraid now of letting the golf course go. It's a Major weekend, it's supposed to be tough. There's no doubt the early starters have a slight advantage in this golf course. The greens get shiny and crusty and very, very slick around the holes, which we experienced yesterday afternoon. There's no doubt, they were substantially slower this morning. The early starters like myself tomorrow will have an opportunity to go out and go low, hopefully.

Q. What are your thoughts on Tiger's play? (Inaudible.)
GRAEME MCDOWELL: He was very, very impressive the last two days. He will not be far away this weekend the way he's playing. Iron play, the flight control that he has in his irons, he just hits the shot that you're supposed to hit at all times. He plays the golf course very conservatively, which I expected him to do because his iron play is -- I'm not sure there's a better iron player in the world. It's incredible how well he controls his ball flight. And he's putting exceptionally well. I lost count of how many 8, 10, 15-footers he's made for par over the last two days.

Q. (Inaudible.)
GRAEME MCDOWELL: He hung in with his putter the last two days. There's no doubt about it. This golf course is very tough. And it's going to ask questions of you quite often. And I lost count the last two days of how many comebacks he made for pars, leaving them short, blowing them by. He's putting them exceptionally well. He hasn't had to -- I had to double check with Joe, his caddie, that the driver head cover actually had a driver underneath it, because it actually hasn't seen the light of day, not even close. He's playing the golf course very conservatively. Using his iron play to devastating effect. Very impressive. I said to him on the 18th green, "That was a clinic the last two days. That was very impressive." Combo that with some great putting, he's going to be dangerous.

Q. How hard would he be to beat?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: It would be very hard for me to beat at this point, if he keeps playing like he's playing. What did he shoot today, level 2-under, he's six shots ahead of me. All I can do is go is focus on my game now. It's very difficult to focus on your own game when you're watching the best player maybe ever the last two days, and especially with Louis pulling out. It kind of made the intensity level kind of crank up a little bit. I enjoy playing with Tiger. I'm fairly comfortable playing with him. The only trap I ever fall into is just standing back and admiring what's happening beside me. It takes you out of your own zone sometimes. I'm looking forward to getting out there tomorrow and getting in my own zone and trying to play some golf.

Q. (Inaudible.)
GRAEME MCDOWELL: Really? It's like, do I have to follow that? No, like I say, he's so impressive. The only downfall that I kind of find when I play with him and players of his caliber, is that you find yourself getting a little too full of admiration. You need to believe in your own game. I was happy with the way I hit it this morning. Like I say, big key for me tomorrow is to get out there and get focused on my own game is try and shoot 4- or 5-under par, and who knows, I might have a shot come Sunday afternoon.

Q. (Inaudible.)
GRAEME MCDOWELL: Yeah, like I say, just talking about -- just flighting the ball better and better. It was better today, but I need to work on it a little better. I had like a 3-iron, driving iron in the bag, which I don't -- talking about Tiger's driver, I don't think my 3-iron saw the light of day. I'm not enjoying hitting it. It's basically 13 clubs in the bag. So I need to find a club that I can get in play off the tee. Because right now I'm kind of driver, 3-wood, 3 hybrid and 4-iron. There's a gap there, I need to fill in that gap somehow and just putt better, really. Just knock in those 10, 15-footers a little better and just get going.

Q. Are you surprised, then, that you have won more Majors than him the last five years?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: Yes, there's no doubt. He certainly looks like he's very close to being back. So there will be no surprise to me if he's picking up the Claret Jug on Sunday night. But I'm not writing off the rest of the field. There's quality players there in this field, and I'm certainly not writing myself off. But if he continues to play the way he's playing, he's going to be tough to beat. But like I say, everyone else has raised the bar a little bit the last five years, as well. But like you say, it's nice to be the only man in that two-ball that's won a Major the last five years (laughter). Hadn't thought about it that way, maybe I should have.

Q. DC up there, too?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: Great to see Darren playing well. I saw him on the board early today. It's great to see him playing well. I know he's had a rough couple of years and he's a good friend, and one of those guys that you certainly can't help pulling for. So good to see him on the boards.

Q. (Inaudible.)
GRAEME MCDOWELL: Me? 6th. What is that?

Q. Par-4 where you went left.
GRAEME MCDOWELL: That was an 8-iron, like a little 150 turn in there.

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