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February 21, 2014

Graeme McDowell


DOUG MILNE:テつ We'd like to welcome Graeme McDowell after 21 holes, get the job done over Hunter Mahan.テつ Congratulations on the day, long day, but successful nonetheless.テつ But with that, I'll turn it over to you for some comments.
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ I really don't know what to say.テつ I just said to the guys coming in there, you know, obviously I'm holing some very important putts that I really can't give my normal reactions to, because I can scarcely believe what's going on.テつ I'm embarrassed is the wrong word.テつ I'm not embarrassed, but I just feel like I'm robbing these guys.
That was a scrappy enough match today.テつ We both got off to kind of ragged starts and steadied the ship around the middle of the match.テつ I had putts on 8, 9 and 10 that I should have made, didn't.
Then I lose 11.テつ Here we go again, you know.
Both made good chips to 15.テつ Thought I made my putt, it just slid at the last second.
And 16 was a killer blow.テつ I had a decent shot in there, and I don't know how it managed to stay up on top of that slope, I don't know.テつ Clumsy three‑putt.テつ And my head went down as I walked up the 16th green.テつ I really thought I blew it.テつ 1‑down with 2 to go, is a hell of a lot different with 2 down and 2 to go.テつ I genuinely thought I was done this time.テつ I really didn't think there was any way back from that.
The putt on 17, having made nothing all day, that was big.テつ It was a tough read.テつ Kenny got one right for a change (laughter).
I managed to wiggle that into the left edge.テつ I knew Hunter had a tough putt.テつ It was a tough putt to read.テつ 18 was one of those things.テつ I knew 18 was a good birdie chance, a good pin there.テつ I hit the exact same shot and I left myself the exact same putt against Alex Noren last year.テつ I knew the putt.テつ Second play, I'm not really sure what happened there.テつ That was outrageous.
The 3‑wood I had off the tee there, that shot has been haunting me big time this week.テつ I hit the shot several times in practice off the tee.テつ It was just a bad swing.テつ What a putt.テつ And obviously to get the job done was very, very satisfying, like I say.テつ It's tough to kind of celebrate the way I want to because I'm a little bit embarrassed.

Q.テつ (Inaudible.)
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ Yeah, it was a 9‑iron.テつ I probably gave it a little bit sort of‑‑ I backed up on it and I duffed it a little bit in an attempt to get it over the lip, really.テつ It was a clean lie, but like you said the lip was very steep in front of me and I was trying to give some loft on a 9‑iron.
I've been there.テつ Actually I played a practice match against Brooks Koepka and I did the exact same thing against him.テつ I hit it in that trap and got it up and down for a 4 to win the hole.テつ I had a little experience from that in practice.テつ That wasn't a very good tee shot.

Q.テつ Curious, could you talk about the 18th hole, the way you played it and what you think of it as a hole, the way it sets up for you?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ Yeah, I think 18 is a good hole.テつ I hit 3‑wood off the tee today, just trying to keep it short of the trap.テつ I hit a really good 3‑wood.テつ That's a good pin now.
That pin yesterday, from what I hear, caused all sorts of trouble.テつ The pin today was very accessible and very birdieable.テつ Like I say, I was 1‑down to Alex Noren, I want to say on Thursday last year, playing the last of that pin and I managed to make birdie to that flag and go down and beat him.テつ I had a little bit of previous to that flag, shall we say.
Hunter played a pretty safe shot out of the right and I had no options, really.テつ I think I holed nearly an identical putt to the one I holed last year.テつ Good hole, 18.テつ Like I said, that front pin is a little vicious yesterday.テつ But I think 18 is a very good hole.

Q.テつ You don't have the length to take on the bunker down the right?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ No, no I don't, really.テつ It's about 295 to that right trap.テつ It's a big one.テつ It's only for the big boys.テつ It's not really a shot I see.テつ I always see something up to the left.テつ I wish I could hit over to the right side, but it's not happening anytime soon.

Q.テつ What do you think is more remarkable, that you've had these late hole comebacks each day or that I don't think you've led any match until you won it?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ Yeah, I haven't struck a tee shot left whilst being up in a match.テつ I think that's a ridiculous stat.テつ I think you can safely say it's never happened in this event ever.テつ For a guy to be into the last day and not led a match yet is pretty incredible.
Like I say, the putts on 8, 9 and 10 today were my first opportunities to go ahead in a match.テつ And I couldn't seem to get the job done.テつ It was like‑‑ it's really kind of until my back's been against the wall, I haven't really been able to pull the shots off this week.
And I'm just going to have to try and bottle that intensity for 18 holes tomorrow morning.テつ And see if I can get ahead in a match and actually try and start my authority on 1 as opposed to somehow getting the job done, I'm not sure how.

Q.テつ Do you get this feeling that your name might just be on that trophy?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ I don't know.テつ Very bizarre start to things.テつ Like you say, when that putt went in on 10, it was the third playoff hole today, it was a very bizarre feeling.テつ It was like I was having an out‑of‑body experience, really.テつ Is this really happening?テつ And the when the putt went in the middle of 9 I just shrugged my shoulders and said I can't believe this, really.
Of course I'm putting intensity and focus into what I'm doing.テつ But you don't expect to do things‑‑ you don't expect to win any of those‑‑ you might win one of those three matches, you don't win all three of them.テつ It just doesn't happen.
It's great.テつ My second event of the season.テつ I'm looking for a workout this week.テつ I've certainly had a workout.テつ I've asked myself every question that's possible, attitude, hit the shots under pressure, hit the chips under pressure, hit the putts under pressure.テつ I've asked myself every question.テつ Whatever happens this weekend I'm kind of playing with house money a little bit.テつ Anything else is a bonus.テつ Just like to get out and birdie the first tomorrow and see how that feels, maybe.テつ That's really going to be my one thought before I go to bed tonight.テつ Let's birdie the first tomorrow.

Q.テつ (Inaudible.)
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ I don't feel sorry for anyone.テつ I feel like we're all trying to beat each other.テつ In many ways, probably Gary on Wednesday, because I thought he played the golf ‑‑ made one mistake, which was hitting over the back of 16 and apart from that I thought he‑‑ I felt probably a bit worse that day for my opponent, if you like.
Yesterday, I mean, was a good game.テつ I think maybe I had half a chance maybe of winning at one point.
Today, you know, Hunter hit a great shot there out of the desert on 10.テつ Gave himself the opportunity to halve the hole.テつ I do feel like I robbed him little bit.

Q.テつ What did you say after that?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ I didn't really know what to say to him.テつ I said it was a great battle.テつ I said everything but sorry, you know.テつ I didn't say sorry, but I felt sorry for him.テつ I didn't feel sorry for him, I felt sorry for what had happened.
He's a great guy.テつ He's a great player, and we had a great match today.テつ It's definitely time to stop playing the replay, that chip shot that he hit on 7 at Celtic Manor in 2010, the guy is a quality, quality golfer.テつ He hit some great chip shots today.テつ I said to The Golf Channel this morning, his career is not going to be defined by that chip shot, no chance.テつ He's won two WGCs since then.テつ He's a quality golfer, and probably deserved to beat me today.テつ But this game doesn't give you what you deserve sometimes.

Q.テつ On 11 when you hit your approach, your third shot on No. 11 you and Ken had a long conversation about struggling six percent, seven percent, ten percent, can you talk about how difficult that was?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ Yeah, I felt like today the ten percent wasn't very consistent.テつ I'd hit a shot and I'd say‑‑ we'd say to each other, man, that played long.テつ And then we'd hit another one, and say, man, that played short.
I was pushing a little bit on 11.テつ We'd gone to five percent instead of 10 percent, because it's a wedge shot.テつ It's not spending so much time in the air as perhaps a long iron or a driver.テつ So it's not really getting the ten percent kind of use.テつ I struggled a little bit with my distance control today, especially my wedges.テつ I couldn't seem to dial them in.テつ I couldn't seem to make that ten percent work all the time.
You've got a lot of numbers going around in your head this week.テつ You start with one number and you're taking the down hill off of it and ten percent off of it and the wind off of it, and then the bumps off of it.テつ So it's crazy all the numbers that are flying around.テつ And you're not going to get it right all the time.
11 was frustration for me.テつ I just missed putts on 8, 9 and 10 and felt the inevitability of losing 11, that third shot, hitting it too far.テつ I was frustrated.

Q.テつ Have you ever done anything like that before in your whole career, amateur career, won three matches like that, coming back?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ No, I don't think I've never experienced anything kind of like this before in match play.テつ I remember playing‑‑

Q.テつ Have you ever heard of anything like this?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ I don't know.テつ I know Jason Day has played a few more holes than me the first two days.テつ I think it's‑‑ no, for a guy to have never led a match in three matches and to win all three of them it's ridiculous, really.テつ Things happen in this tournament.テつ And like I say, maybe you win one or two of those three matches, but you don't win all three of them against world class golfers.テつ They're not going to make mistakes to give you the opportunity.
No, very, very lucky, fortunate, nine lives have been used up on some.テつ And go tomorrow and do it all again, I guess.

Q.テつ Are you worried about the game tomorrow against Victor Dubuisson?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ Victor, I don't know much about his game.テつ I've only played with him briefly at a par play golf thing years ago at Celtic Manor.テつ I know he's talented.テつ I know he's good.テつ He's obviously in the form of his life right now.テつ So taking on Bubba this morning, yeah, another tough game on my hands.テつ I'm looking forward to it.
Obviously a couple of Europeans left.テつ Did Sergio win today?テつ No, so obviously two remaining Europeans in the field.テつ Nice little Ryder Cup teammate showdown.テつ I'm looking forward to it.テつ Great player, nice guy, I'm looking forward to the game.

Q.テつ You referenced the Ryder Cup match with Mahan a few years ago.テつ Does that still rank as your career highlight or is it equal with the U.S. Open or how do you now view that several years later?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ Yeah, I mean I put them in very different boxes, you know.テつ The U.S. Open will forever be an emotional highlight of my career, from the point of view of winning my first Major Championship at Pebble Beach on Father's Day with my dad there.テつ That will emotionally be a tough one to beat.
The Ryder Cup goes into a completely different box.テつ My three Ryder Cup experiences stand alone as far as the most amazing experiences I've ever had, from my rookie year at Valhalla and playing wellindividually but being on the losing team.テつ And being out there in the singles match and hearing us losing in front of me and feeling that adrenaline drain out of my body and the disappointment level.テつ To Celtic Manor to the highs and lows, and unbelievable highs of that weekend.テつ That's as adrenaline filled a moment probably in my career to date.
And this last one, to have lost my singles match, but to be kind of on the opposite end of the spectrum, cheering my team on and being part of the biggest Ryder Cup come back in history.
My three Ryder Cup experiences sit alone in a very, very special place that I don't think any individual event can ever touch.テつ They're so different.テつ I wouldn't say one is better than the other, because they're so different.

Q.テつ Yesterday you had similar emotions of relief after that match that you're having today.テつ Can you describe your mental state now?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ Yeah, I'm fairly beat up, I have to say.テつ But I'll recover well tonight and I'll get back out here tomorrow morning.テつ I'll probably go hit a few balls.テつ My swing was a little off.テつ I hit a few off shots today.テつ But my short iron play has been extremely good this week, which is very pleasing.テつ Obviously holing some putts, new driver in the bag the last couple of weeks, which is working pretty well.テつ And mentally, yeah, I'm pretty drained right now, but we'll bounce back, we'll be ready tomorrow.

Q.テつ Not fried yesterday?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ Not fried, no.テつ Enjoying it.テつ Enjoying the work out.テつ It's a mental work out.テつ I've be putting my swing through the rigors the last couple of months getting ready for this year, doing some stuff in the gym and doing a bit of running and cycling.テつ You can't simulate tournament play.テつ You can't simulate Sunday afternoons.テつ This simulates Sunday afternoons, this is giving me the mental work out that I needed.

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