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ALFRED DUNHILL LINKS CHAMPIONSHIP


September 25, 2013


Branden Grace


ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND

PAUL SYMES:テつ Well, Branden, welcome back, defending champion.テつ You won four times last year, but I guess in terms of sort of prestige and the venue, this was perhaps your biggest win of the lot.
BRANDEN GRACE:テつ Yeah, this was the cherry on top of the cake.テつ I would like to think this is my biggest victory up‑to‑date, one of my best ones up‑to‑date, just the way I performed, the way I played, and everything up to that, and what a way to finish it and to grab it at the Old Course.
PAUL SYMES:テつ Do you feel your game is in good enough shapeto go out and win again?
BRANDEN GRACE:テつ Yeah, I've been home for a couple of weeks now, which has been great.テつ It's been a long season, which ‑‑ obviously I've had some success, obviously not a win, but I've been close.
But I'd like to think that the links courses like me a little bit, same as the Scottish, so I'd like to think that I can really push on again this week and try to compete again and maybe be the first one to defend the title.
PAUL SYMES:テつ You're playing with Johann's wife, Gaynor, again; are you hoping she brings you luck again this year?
BRANDEN GRACE:テつ Yeah, she was great last year, obviously she knows the ins and outs of this event and knows what it's all about.テつ She handles herself really well on the golf course.テつ When she was out of the hole, she picked up and made it really fun for us out there and didn't really keep us up, and that's what all of us hope for.

Q.テつ There are a few of the European top names that are not here, but the South Africans are here in force.テつ Can you tell us why, is it out of loyalty to Johann?テつ Just expand a little bit on why that is that you're all here.
BRANDEN GRACE:テつ Yeah, I think that's the answer.テつ Not just that, but it's a great tournament.テつ It's got some prestige in the name and he with all look forward to coming back here.
This year has been a tough one because of The Presidents Cup next week, a lot of the guys wanted to take a week off and really prepare in a different way for The Presidents Cup.テつ But it all came together, and he was nice enough to arrange a flight for us to The Presidents Cup on Monday morning, so it is nice to be able to give a little bit back and support his tournament.

Q.テつ (Are you surprised more top players aren't here?)
BRANDEN GRACE:テつ Yeah, you know, I would have thought you would have got the likes of Westwood coming back here, but our schedules are so full, you can't always fit in all the events.テつ For me, this is one of the events of the year that I really want to play, and not just because I won it last year, but I've always looked forward coming back here.
I'm sure they have got a good reason, but I'm sure they will be back in the future.

Q.テつ You come here obviously hoping to be the first person to successfully defend the Dunhill Links.テつ How confident are you that you can do that?
BRANDEN GRACE:テつ I feel really confident.テつ Like I said, links courses, I like them.テつ They have treated me well this year and in the past, and I had a couple of practice rounds yesterday and the day before.テつ I feel that the game is in good shape.テつ I need one of those rounds where the putter gets hot like at Kingsbarns last year and shoot a low number.
Like I said I had a good practice round yesterday with Charl and Louis.テつ It's always nice to play with those guys; I've won here and they also have won here, and you can get the ins and outs and maybe that can help you this year.

Q.テつ How important was last year in terms of your career?
BRANDEN GRACE:テつ Oh, definitely, that was the main one.テつ Obviously the Volvo was big and the playoff, but this one really put me on the map and this one showed that I can compete against some of the best in the world and this really put me up in the World Rankings also.テつ That was the big key for me.

Q.テつ How much are you looking forward to The Presidents Cup, and also, how important is it for the International Team to start getting a few wins on the board?
BRANDEN GRACE:テつ You know, I can't wait.テつ There's so many of us, not just myself, but Charl, Louis, Sterne, we can't stop speaking about it.テつ We can't wait to jump on the plane Monday morning and get out there and experience a little bit what the guys at The Ryder Cup experience.テつ It's going to be a tough task, but those American guys, I think it's one of the strongest teams that I've seen up to date.テつ You know, we are really going to have to know what we are doing out there.

Q.テつ Could you please explain a little bit the difference between the three courses.
BRANDEN GRACE:テつ You know, I would like to think St. Andrews and Kingsbarns are similar.テつ If you get it on a decent and calm day, you can really take advantage of it.テつ It's not the longest of golf courses but then again you just need to get your putter going a little bit.
I think St. Andrews is the type of course where you can hit it a little bit closer than Kingsbarns I would think, but if you can get it going, give yourself the opportunity, then you can really go low.
Carnoustie, as everybody knows, it's the beast.テつ You get Carnoustie on a day like this, tomorrow, Friday, you're really in‑‑ the golf course can bite you and things like that.テつ But hopefully the weather clears up for us the same as last year and we can make an enjoyable week.

Q.テつ What do you do for your concentration when the weatheris like this?
BRANDEN GRACE:テつ I think it's just patience to be honest.テつ When you play a course like this, even like Carnoustie, you know you're going to make some mistakes.
So you just have to allow yourself knowing that it's going to happen sooner or later and just try to get over as quick as possible.テつ When the weather is bad, there's still some decent birdie opportunities out there, some short holes where obviously wind direction, you can either get on to the green or get it close and you have to take advantage of those things.
Just not to get ahead of yourself or get down.テつ Patience is a big key and you know you're going to make mistakes, so just deal with it.

Q.テつ You almost did the Scottish double at The Scottish Open; how big a disappointment was it, you came so close and you were beaten by an almost miraculous pitch by Phil Mickelson.テつ Was it a big disappointment?
BRANDEN GRACE:テつ It was, but I never really thought I'm going to be in a playoff.テつ Obviously with Mickelson being in front the whole day and the move that he made early on in the day, we all were thinking we were playing for second.
Obviously not making a birdie on the 18th in regulation play, then I thoughtit was really against, when he hit it to about ten feet in regulation on the 18th, all of the sudden, he made kind of like a rookie error and he hit it six feet past, and then it's all up for grabs.テつ Just he gave me the opportunity but he took it back just as quick.
You knew he was going to do something special with the lob‑wedge.テつ He's just known for that and that's exactly what he did.

Q.テつ Do you know if the Scottish Open is on your schedule next year at Royal Aberdeen?
BRANDEN GRACE:テつ I'm sure it will be.テつ I haven't really planned that far ahead yet but I'm sure it's going to be.テつ I would like to play a links course before the British again.テつ That's just the way I like to prepare for those events, and I've heard some great stories about Royal Aberdeen.
I've heard it's an immaculate golf course and really is a true test and I'm looking forward to heading there next year.

Q.テつ Rory McIlroy has said he will be there; do you think some players that didn't like Castle Stuart will come to Royal Aberdeen?
BRANDEN GRACE:テつ I've never been there.テつ I don't really know what it's like.テつ But if you get the bigger names going there, it definitely shows that it's going to prove a big test to yourself and prepare for The Open.テつ I'm sure if he's coming, he's not going on the only one.
I would like to see a couple or a bit more of the Americans, as well.テつ I know Mickelson has been a big supporter of The Scottish Open, and so it would be good to see a couple of the other guys come over, as well.

Q.テつ You mentioned a lot of South Africans in The Presidents Cup; safe to assume a few pairings, a few already?
BRANDEN GRACE:テつ Yeah, we have been chatting about it nonstop.テつ We actually sat down with Johann on Monday talking about it, as well.テつ I'm sure‑‑ I'm not sure the way Nick is going to putt the teams out but I'm sure he's going to try to keep the South Africans together and the Australians together and things like that.テつ I think that's maybe our best chance.テつ Keep the guys together that like playing together and knows the way the other guy plays.
So I'm sure you're going to see Louis and Charl paired together and maybe myself and Sterne or maybe even Ernie pop in there.テつ But it's going to be great.
PAUL SYMES:テつ Thanks a lot, Branden, enjoy the week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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