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NORTHWESTERN MUTUAL WORLD CHALLENGE


December 5, 2013


Graeme McDowell


THOUSAND OAKS, CALIFORNIA

GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ I guess my last eight rounds around here have been in the 60s.テつ This is a tough golf course.テつ The course hasn't been this tough in a couple years.テつ The scoring reflects that.テつ The greens are much firmer.テつ The speed of them caught me by surprise a little bit today.テつ My speed was a little clumsy, and it showed today on the greens.
But generally I was quite happy the way I hit the ball.テつ I hit a few squiffy ones, but room for improvement.テつ You know, get back out there tomorrow.テつ There's lots of birdie opportunities on this course.テつ I think that's why I've always enjoyed it, why I've always felt comfortable on it.テつ It offers you a lot of chances if you play decent.

Q.テつ This time last year you were looking after the tournament to take forever off, right?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, I took 10 weeks off after this event last year.テつ The plan is to take eight weeks off this year, but I think physically I needed the time off last year.テつ I told the boys yesterday in the presser that I felt‑‑ obviously I had five weeks off to get married, so I'm feeling a fair bit fresher at this point in the season than I normally do.テつ Mentally I just need the break.テつ I've got a lot of work to do on my game, so I'm looking forward to the break from a physical point of view.テつ I've got a lot of work to do I feel like.

Q.テつ Mentally it's game related, not marriage related?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Correct, correct.

Q.テつ I want to be clear on that.
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ We're in that honeymoon period.テつ It's beautiful.テつ It's beautiful.

Q.テつ How long does that last?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ I don't know, you tell me.

Q.テつ With the change of venues next year, what do you think about that?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Obviously I like Sherwood a lot.テつ Every time I've been here I've been very fortunate to play well.テつ Orlando is my backyard these days, I guess, my hometown, and I guess I have mixed emotions.テつ But I think this is a great event, and any change sometimes can be a good thing, I think, from an energy point of view, for the event's popularity, so I think the people here in California have enjoyed this event.テつ I think the people in Orlando will certainly enjoy it next year.

Q.テつ There's no Tavistock Cup next year.
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ I think the Tavistock are involved in this event now.

Q.テつ But what you guys have done last years‑‑
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ I'll miss the Tavistock a little bit.テつ I won't miss it from a scheduling point of view.テつ It's in a very busy period there around the Florida Swing, so I won't miss those couple of days off for sure, but yeah, Tavistock, I've been living in Lake Nona since 2005, my restaurant is on Tavistock property, and I'm indebted to the Tavistock in general really for what they've done for me and for golf.テつ I'll miss the cup.テつ It was good fun.テつ I used to enjoy the blue versus red.テつ The blue versus red was fun.

Q.テつ What's your bar in the first year?テつ Has it surprised you?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, we've exceeded our expectations.テつ We got off to a phenomenal start, thanks to you guys and all the sort of media attention that it got.テつ Slowed down a little bit in the summer, but we did better in the summer than we expected.テつ The fall has been a little quiet, but it's starting to heat back up again with Christmas and the new year.テつ It's been a lot of fun.

Q.テつ If you had your choice to own a bar or nine Ferraris, what would it be?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ I think you've just got to look at my garage and look at Ian Poulter's garage and make your own mind up there.テつ I'm not a Ferrari guy.テつ I like them, but I don't like them that much.

Q.テつ Did Rory make you feel shorter today?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yes.テつ Yes.テつ He always makes me feel short.テつ It's guys like him that make me go home and scratch my head and think, right, what am I going to do here, I'm going to start throwing some weights around, I think, hopefully find 10 yards.テつ He reckons he flies it 310 yards through the air.テつ I fly it 270 yards through the air on a good day.テつ There's 40 yards right there.テつ But he's the exception.テつ I'm closer to the rule.

Q.テつ You wouldn't be a guy that would be long right off, as they say, probably medium long?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, but I actually feel like I'm not driving it as good this year as I have last year.テつ My driving is on a little bit of a downward curve, which is part of what I'm trying to address this off‑season.テつ I mean, I'm not short, but when the fairways (inaudible) I'm long enough.

Q.テつ But when you look at yourself compared with a Rory, Dustin, kind of that A group, is there any part of you that takes a certain pride in being able to do exactly what they do, just a different way if that makes any sense?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Oh, for sure.テつ I have to think if you mentally let it beat you up‑‑ I walked away from the HSBC, Dustin was incredibly impressive, thinking if you kind of hold that against yourself, say go to the drawing board and think, right, I'm going to spend the next two months thrashing drivers and see if I can put on 20 yards, and my wedge play goes to crap, that's a mistake you make.
So you've got to take pride in what you do.テつ You've got to look at Luke Donald, Jim Furyk, you've got to look at the Zach Johnsons and say these guys get it done.テつ These guys won majors, these guys could be the world No.1 players, so I've got to look at it that way rather than trying to make myself into‑‑ I'm never going to make myself into a Rory or a Dustin at this point in my life.テつ My best days are gone.

Q.テつ Do you think guys make that mistake that fall into that trap?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ You know, tough to pick examples, but there's no doubt.テつ I toyed with the idea at the end of last year and quickly threw it out.テつ Like I say, I need to drive the ball better than I am right now, but I don't need to reinvent myself.テつ I need to get a little fitter and a little stronger, yeah, but not as a detriment to my iron play and my wedge play, my good stuff.

Q.テつ How long did it take you to give it up?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ It took me four or five weeks probably.テつ The huge 47‑inch drivers can get my ball speed up to about 170.テつ I'm probably down in the low 160s, 10 miles an hour slower than I was at that point, but I just had to accept it that I wasn't going to be able to get it up there.

Q.テつ (Inaudible.)
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, for sure.テつ I mean, I've got it in my head, sort of events.テつ Phoenix Open, for example, J.B. Holmes winning back‑to‑back there.テつ I've got it in my head that that's a long hitter's golf course.テつ But that's just a theory because I spoke to Brandt Snedeker, who I think is just a little longer than me but my type of player, and he loves the Phoenix Open.テつ So I'm like, that makes no sense at all, so maybe I'm wrong about that golf tournament.
I guess I tailor my schedule to me.テつ I look at what guys like Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk, who are guys that I compare myself to, game types, I look at what they do, because I'm still learning about the PGA TOUR.テつ There's events that I still have not played on this TOUR:テつ Torrey Pines, Memorial, Quail Hollow I haven't played since '06.テつ I'm still learning about this TOUR in regards to what golf courses suit me and what don't.

Q.テつ We were talking to the boys yesterday about reassessing British Open, U.S. Open part of the schedule.テつ When you look at the major venues for this upcoming year, how do you view them?テつ What do you make of how they lay out?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Augusta is a tough one for me.テつ I certainly don't build the early part of my year around Augusta because I'm not an Augusta type player yet.テつ You know, of the 25 opportunities I'll have never year, unfortunately Augusta is probably not in the top 10.テつ So try and sneak up on Augusta this year.
But the rest of them, Pinehurst, that's a me kind of golf course, I think; Hoylake, I feel like I've got an Open Championship deep down inside me somewhere, so I'll be peaking for that for sure.テつ And Valhalla, which holds happy memories, my first Ryder Cup there in '08, so I'll look forward to getting back there.
Not trying to get negative about Augusta, I'm trying to get realistic about it not being the be all and end all for the first four or five months of my season and making sure that I am looking at the big events around that.

Q.テつ Zach won Augusta, by the way.
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ I'm going to leave on that note.テつ (Laughter.)

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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