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WGC ACCENTURE MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP


February 20, 2014


Graeme McDowell


MARANA, ARIZONA

LAURA NEAL: We'd like to welcome Graeme McDowell to the interview room. More drama today. Talk to us again about a match where you had to mount a come back.
GRAEME MCDOWELL: You know, why do it the easy way when the hard way will do. I just got off to a slow start again, probably less so today. Hideki opened up 3‑3, which, you know, 2‑down walking off the second green.
I was quite proud of myself when I got a half on 3, so I was only 2‑down after 3, as opposed to 3‑down today.
But I made a bad swing on 6, hit it in the right bunker there.
And after that I played really clean golf. I tried to go out there today and execute my game plan and try not to give him any room for‑‑ try not to make any mistakes, try not to give him anything. And he kind of played the same kind of golf back. He played very, very well.
I made big putts on 15 and 16. 16 especially was a massive putt to give me the opportunity, 2‑down with two to play, as opposed to only being 1‑down and two to play.
I hit a great wedge shot on 17. Hideki got the wind wrong. He made a beautiful swing and it went long. And I had the chance.
I feel very fortunate again today. I've certainly expended all my energy and emotions the last couple of days. But thankfully it's early in the season and I've plenty left in the tank.

Q. So yougot Hunter Mahan. Have you ever played him in match play?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: I think we played together in a reasonably high profile match there a few years ago, so there's a decent chance he might be out for a shade of revenge tomorrow, who knows. It's been a long time. A lot of water under the bridge since 2010.
He's a quality player. He's got a great record around this golf course. He's going to be a tough nut to crack.
But I certainly feel I've had a pretty good workout the last couple of days, and I should be in good shape going into tomorrow.

Q. This never say die attitude, have you always had it? Did you have it when you were a kid?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: I was always a good match player when I was kid. As you know, in Britain and Ireland we play perhaps probably a little too much match play as amateurs. I have a lot of match play experience. I certainly‑‑ it certainly does build up that grit and determination, because when you are in a hole you have to aim at pins, you've got to make putts. Match play really is the ultimate do or die, as opposed to just having a card in your pocket and just going around, well, let's go and try to get it tomorrow. There's a huge amount of finality to match play and you've got to summon something a little different inside you. So perhaps I learned a little bit in my teens, just playing a lot of match play.
It didn't really spill over into the professional ranks the first few years. I maybe didn't have the confidence to come to the world match play and be good enough to beat these guys. It took me a little bit of time to sort of find that match play instinct. I certainly found it the last few years. Obviously, the final at Volvo world match play, and then winning the Volvo match play, and a couple of good runs here the last few years.
Match play is just different. It asks different questions. It's like Sunday afternoon out there every day, so it's fun.

Q. Is there a way of explaining what happens to you when you're standing over putts where nothing less than holing will do?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: Yeah, you know, you hear the old Seve stuff that he just knew that it was going to go in, and he willed it in.
The finality of match play is that you see things happening in match play. Say the Ryder Cups, for example, things happen. Chips get holed, shots get holed, and putts get holed, because there's that intense focus on trying to hole the shot, as opposed to stroke play which is so much more conservative. I wouldn't call it belief, I'd just call it determination really. There's much more focus and determination in what I'm trying to do. Try to couple that with good execution and good technique and hope for the best.
I've been very proud of myself the last couple of days, coming off a long off‑season, kind of making some good swings under pressure, and holing some good putts under pressure. There's no real kind of right or wrong way to go about it. Some guys have it, like Polts, he gets that look in his eye and everything goes in the hole. Match play kind of does that to guys, and thankfully I've had a little bit of that the last couple of days.

Q. Can you give us a sense of how draining this was today and what do you do for tomorrow to get yourself‑‑
GRAEME MCDOWELL: When I walked out of this room yesterday, I was pretty tired, I have to say. You get that adrenaline surge, like you do on a Sunday afternoon, and obviously a lot of emotions. And I was quite tired after the round yesterday and I expect to be quite tired again today. But that's just a short‑term tiredness. I'll rest up tonight and be ready to go tomorrow. It's not like it's the end of the season. I've been sort of training in the off‑season to try and get myself in better shape and be ready for weekends like this. I should be okay. Let's put it that way.

Q. It's not like you're fried?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: No, certainly not. I look at it like a good workout, and that's really what I wanted to get this week was a good workout. I was really looking at next Thursday as the beginning of my season.
Pebble was the warm up to see where my game's at. Come here and put it under some pressure and see where I'm at and be ready next Thursday. If a good run got it in the way this week, so be it. Looking forward to my match tomorrow and we'll see what happens.

Q. Is this the first time you played with Hideki? If so, what impressed you most about his game?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: That was the first time I played with him. Just very, very rounded for, what is he, 22? 20? Wow. Just extremely complete for a 20‑year‑old. You know, drives it long. Got a beautiful golf swing, good rhythm. Hit a lot of quality shots down the stretch today. Looks like he putts well. Good bunker player. I mean, just complete, cool, under control. He looks like the real deal.
So there's so many good, young players coming through here that are so much more complete and ready. We always joke, better get our money made quick before all these kids come through. More and more of these guys coming through just ready to win.

Q. You said it was like Sunday afternoon pressure yesterday and Sunday afternoon pressure today. Is there anything from these match play experiences that you can take into a Sunday afternoon in a Major or is it totally different?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: No, no. Definitely, I think asking yourself the question under pressure is having to hit the shot, having to hole the putts. We discussed that obviously the mental approach is a fraction different. But, in essence, it's the same thing really. You're nervous, you're tentative, your old habits creep in when you're under pressure.
I took a lot away from this tournament last year, just because I felt like I made a lot of good swings under pressure, kind of played the last couple of holes in most of my games, made some good swings, and felt like that kind of produced a great spring for me. I played well at Doral, had a good run at the Honda, played decently because I took confidence from this event. And obviously won Hilton Head.
I call it early season. I mean, there's guys in this field that have played seven or eight times this year already. It's number two for me. It's a great way to see where your game is at under pressure.

Q. You mentioned two things. Different training regimen that you did and also how many good young players there are. Are those two things related at all?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: You know, I think, as I hit my mid‑30s, I'm trying to try to get my calories expended better than my intake. I enjoy a few glasses of red wine, I'm not going to lie. And I think being serious about it.
I'm disappointed with myself the last few years, my performance in August and September. I look back to two years ago at Medinah, I was fried at Medinah, and I was fried at the FedEx playoffs. Last year I was fried at the FedEx playoffs, again. I don't want that to happen this year. I've made a few decisions, I've cut back on a little golf course activity. I've tried to up my fitness regime and get leaner and fitter just to try to be ready for August and September this year, really. That's the big goal of mine.
Obviously I want to be on the Ryder Cup team and I want to be prepared when that comes around this year. Those are the things I'm working on. I'm not trying to‑‑ I'm never going to be a Dustin Johnson or Rory McIlroy or Hideki Matsuyama. I'm past that stage. I've got to try and do what I do better.

Q. You talked about getting rest tonight. What is your post match routine on a day like today?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: You know, I might go clip a bucket of balls here, a few things I want to work on. Eat some good food tonight. We've been eating at Lil' Abners here in town. It's pretty much been the standard fare every night, some good protein and just eat some good food and get good sleep. I've had no problem sleeping. I'm a pretty good sleeper. I kind of go with a cold bath just to kind of end my day and get some of the toxins out of the body and get some good sleep and be ready to go tomorrow.

Q. Matsuyama doesn't have a good reputation in match play so far, but he has good results in stroke play and last year, too. Any difference between stroke play and match play in the mindset?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: Yeah, I mean, I think mentally they're very, very different. Match play has so much more finality to it, it's win or lose.
Stroke play, if you can kind of steady the ship and turn a bad day into 72 and go out the next day and shoot 66 and get yourself back in it. So stroke play is much more conservative; match play is much more aggressive and much more reactive to your playing partner. Stroke play, you're playing the golf course more often, I think.
Hideki has a very complete game. I think his game is well suited to both stroke play and match play. I got pretty lucky to beat him today. He's a great player.
LAURA NEAL: Thanks so much. Good luck tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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