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June 4, 2014

Graeme McDowell


DOUG MILNE:テつ Okay.テつ Graeme McDowell, thanks for joining us for a few minutes here at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Making your third start here in Memphis, with a top 7, I believe.テつ Off to a solid start this year.テつ Missed one cut in 9 starts with a small handful of Top-10 finishes.
With that, I'll turn it over to you for some comments on being here back in Memphis.
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ Great to be back here in Memphis.テつ This is a golf course I enjoy playing.テつ I think Europeans have had a lot of success with Westwood winning here, Karlsson won here, some big European players have won here.
The golf course is tricky.テつ It kind of reminds me a lot of some of the European tracks we play, some of the Asian stuff, really tricky bermuda rough, must keep it in play.テつ Just a hard golf course, you know.
I think it suits my type of game.テつ You know, I just had a few weeks off so it's nice to come back here and prepare and get some competitive practice and get ready for, you know, obviously the U.S. Open next week.
But I'm taking nothing away from this event.テつ I'm here to compete and here to give myself a chance on Sunday afternoon.
DOUG MILNE:テつ We'll take questions.

Q.テつ You said you've been off a couple weeks.テつ How does this prepare you for the Open itself, the course, the way you're playing?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ Yeah.テつ You know, I spent the morning at Pinehurst yesterday morning so I got a nice practice round in.テつ I played 6 holes Monday night at Pinehurst and 18 yesterday.
I've seen the golf course now two and a half times over there.テつ You know, the grasses are very similar to what we're seeing here.テつ The grasses around the greens at Pinehurst, you know, it's bermuda, bermuda fairways and very similar to the type of turf that we're hitting off of here in Memphis.テつ That's really good from a prep point of view.
Obviously hot and humid which it will be in North Carolina next week, also.テつ Anytime you got a card in your pocket you just really get into that competitive mindset.テつ That's always good prep for a Major Championship.
When I lost by a shot at Olympic I came here the week before and got my game ready and, you know, back to trying to replicate that type of preparation and guys take weeks off and prepare their bodies and mind and guys like to play the week before.
So, you know, I'll play before the U.S. Open.テつ I won't play before the British and play before the PGA.テつ You're always trying to get the recipe right for the Major Championships.テつ We all base our schedules around those trying to peak for those, taking nothing away from any of the events the week before.
I'd love to win here in Memphis this week.テつ Yeah.テつ Like I say, lot of good pluses here at this golf course and it's tough as well, you know.テつ It's a U.S. Open-type of mindset.テつ Pars are good scores here.

Q.テつ Earlier today Phil was saying that the areas around the greens, although obviously not exactly like Pinehurst, could provide good preparation.テつ Do you see some of that having just played Pinehurst?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ That was kind of what I was saying.テつ The grasses are similar around the greens here where you're kind of chipping into the grainy bermuda.テつ You don't have the type of run-off areas perhaps that Pinehurst has and the type of green surfaces chipping up on to.
The turf and the grass is very comparable for the iron play and for the pitching and chipping.テつ In many ways, this is good preparation this week.
The course here at TPC, the greens are in great shape this week and, like I say, this is a tough test of golf.テつ They were flashing up the scores last year on one of the leaderboards.
Anything around par was kind of finishing Top-10.テつ So, this is a tough track.テつ I think 5-under won last year.テつ I think I'm right.テつ Something like that.

Q.テつ Doug was discussing your start to the season.
What do you like about your game so far this season?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ You know, it's been interesting year so far.テつ I haven't hit it my best, really.テつ I've been working very hard on my game the last couple of months.テつ My putter has been pleasing so far this season.テつ One of my better putting seasons for awhile, which is always key.
But, you know, just general improvement across the board.テつ I feel like I'm learning year-in, year-out in this game.テつ You know, you take the rough with the smooth.テつ You just try and get better, really, and my ball flight wasn't where I wanted it to be early in the season.テつ I'm starting to get that where I want to see it.
Just working away, just grinding, enjoying the game and, you know, just trying to compete week-in and week-out.テつ Four, five Top-10s so far this PGA Tour season, throw out the bad run here and there kind of stopped me from competing.
All in all, consistency level has come back into my game and, like I say, some good putting in there.

Q.テつ Graeme, earlier this year you talked about wanting to structure your year in such a way that you're not going to burnout by the Ryder Cup, you're going to maintain that energy.
Is that part of it going well for you?
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ Yeah.テつ It had a lot to do with the last three weeks, taking the last three weeks off to the detriment of not getting to Wentworth which was disappointing this year.テつ That was based mainly on the fact that I'm not really going to see my wife much this summer.
She's due in Augusta and she's not able -- next week is her last event that she's going to travel to so I wanted to try and take some time off and spend sometime with her and factor into the three week off kind of break that I got which is kind of one eye on the summer as well trying to stay physically and mentally fresh for a long summer, really, the three Major Championships that we'll play the next two months and the FedEx Cup Playoffs and hopefully the Ryder Cup team at the end of it.
There's a lot of golf to play for me.テつ It's very difficult to miss events like Wentworth and Memorial tournament last weekend.テつ It's very hard to do.
Like I say, I had some family commitments as well the last few weeks which kind of helped my decision to take some time off.テつ But I'm feeling fresh and I'm excited to play this week and look forward to the next week at U.S. Open, also.

Q.テつ Give your thoughts on what you saw at Pinehurst and what next week is going to be like, especially the areas off the fairway, the variety of lies.
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ Yeah.テつ I enjoyed Pinehurst.テつ Like we said, not dissimilar to the fairways and turf here.テつ Quite spongy.テつ There's not particularly fiery yet.テつ So, it plays long.テつ Narrow.テつ They're forcing you in to kind of layup areas a lot which is good because it's taken some of the big hitters out of play.テつ They're having to lay back with the mortals like myself (laughter).
You know, the waste areas, you're going to get some good lies and bad lies.テつ I see it as 50/50.テつ You're going to get about like 50 percent of the time, something that's playable, maybe 50 percent of the time.
It's all about the greens at Pinehurst.テつ They use a serviceable area and some of them are very small.テつ You got to position your ball on the correct side of the flags coming in there to have a chance.テつ It's grainy type bermuda around the greens.
I was hitting a lot of putts from the run-off areas yesterday and the ball wasn't running very well through the run-off areas.テつ They're kind of asking you to chip it.
Short game is going to be a factor.テつ But it's a good test of golf.テつ I think if it gets firmer it will play a little shorter but the greens will play very difficult.テつ I think, what is the winning score going to be, it will be what the USGA wants it to be.
They can put the pins in tough positions and really keep the scoring high if they want.テつ Typically around level par is what they're aiming for.テつ It's going to be a great place, a beautiful place to play golf.

Q.テつ What have you noticed about the here?テつ I talked to the superintendent earlier.テつ He said like a lot of places they had a tough winter, soggy spring but it feels good about the last couple of weeks.
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ Yeah.テつ I mean I'm not down on the shape of this course at all.テつ I think, you know, I'd like to see a little more rough than there is.テつ They're lacking growth in the rough.テつ But there's about enough rough to make it tough coming into the greens.
It jumps out of this rough.テつ Takes the spin and control out of your hands a little bit.テつ The greens are in great shape.テつ They're rolling beautifully.テつ The rest of the course is very good.
I mean the fairways are a little soft and the rough is a little sparse but apart from that I think the course is in nice shape.テつ It's going to be a fun week.テつ Hopefully we can dodge some of these storms swinging by us and stay dry and have a fun weekend.
DOUG MILNE:テつ Graeme, as always, we appreciate your time.
GRAEME MCDOWELL:テつ Thanks Doug.テつ Thanks guys.

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