What they said: Graeme McDowell

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December 02, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: World Challenge transcript archive

JOHN BUSH: Graeme McDowell joins us once again in the interview room after a 4?under?par 68. Graeme, continued good play. Just comments on the round.

GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, you know, I played very solidly again today. Bogey?free is always nice on any golf course. You know, it would have been nice to pick a few more up on the way in, I guess, finishing with seven straight pars when there are some chances out there. I played disciplined golf to some of those tighter pins, couldn't seem to get anything to drop, but two shots ahead going into Sunday, I'll take that any week, anywhere, any time, and it's right where you need to be. Very happy with the way I'm hitting the golf ball.

My driver is not quite on the string I'd like it to be on, but my iron play is really nice, and my putting feels really solid. It's all there, and I'm looking forward to the challenge tomorrow.

Q. On No.2 where it seemed like you took away a reasonable birdie chance and then you rolled in that long one, talk about how much that set you up at least for the front nine.

GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, it was nice. I think when you're in the kind of leading position, I always feel like Saturdays are tough days. I always remember back to Pebble, Saturday felt like it was a very, very important day for me just to kind of hang in there because I got rid of all the nerves and it's really a dress rehearsal for the big show tomorrow if you like. So I was a little tentative the first four or five holes and laid it up on 2 there and overspun it and made a nice 30?footer.

That's kind of what's been messing in my game is the way I've been seeing it and rolling the ball on these greens this week. I've just been putting much more solid than I have for months. Putts like that always settle you down. I made a nice one on 2, then a nice one on 4. The one on 4 was probably 25, 30 feet, as well. Missed a few shorter chances and made a few longer ones today, and all in all I think 4?under was probably a fair result. Like I say, it would have been nice to pick a couple up on the way in, but I'll take it.

I think the scoring hasn't been as low. I'd say probably most of the players are surprised at kind of how mediocre the scoring is. There were a couple of 7s yesterday, but 4s and 5s, today, obviously a bit of early rain, but the course is playing longer than normal, and I think the guys are struggling to score the way they'd like to.

Q. Has the softness of the golf course altered the way you're able to attack the par?5s here?

GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, it's just that the par?5s are playing a little longer for me. For example, on 11, a hole that typically you can go in there with 2? and 3?iron, I hit an okay drive and a 3?wood to the front edge there today. It's playing pretty long. I can't get close to 5. I can't sniff that at all. And 2 was playing quite long this morning in the drizzle, as well.

So the par?5s are playing longer, which has taken a couple of the gift scoring chances. I think that's probably what's stopped the guys from going ridiculously low, because a few of the gifts are being taken away from them, having to work for them a little bit more.

And then controlling spin to these back pins; any time you get a wedge in your hand, you're just trying to take spin off so much, and you can very often kind of overdo it and kind of end up hitting your wedges a bit long, so controlling wedge play is very difficult when the greens are this soft and remain fairly fast.

That's the difficulties of scoring.

Q. You're going to be playing with Keegan tomorrow, and we were talking to him today about he's still getting heckled out there about the long putter and some guy called him a cheater today. You'll probably hear some of that stuff tomorrow I would imagine. I'm just wondering what your thoughts are on guys who are having to deal with that issue even though the putter is within the rules.

GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, unfortunately I think there's a slight inevitability to that the next couple years. It's going to be interesting to see how quickly the guys do start to change. Of course we're not even in a position where the PGA TOUR have made a decision or the European Tour or professional tours around the world. Until they make their decision, which will be interesting to see what they do, of course these guys are going to have to deal with kind of idiots out there taking things into their own hands.

I think as players we're all used to kind of stupid comments from the crowd. Like I said, it'll be interesting to see how quickly the guys try to adapt to the new style if that's the way we're going to go. I'm sure Keegan can handle it. Let's be honest; with a long putter, if it was that easy, everybody would be using them. I can't see me putting it into the bag here for the next couple years before they change the rule, but it's just unfortunate and stupid and hopefully it doesn't cause too much trouble going forward.

Q. What's the worst you ever heard personally in terms of heckling or what's been said to you??

GRAEME McDOWELL: You know, tough to comment really. You know, I think probably U.S. Opens in the New Jersey area are probably about as bad as it gets. I think if you can handle it?? I mean, I've been known to wear some louder trousers in my days, and I'm not quite Poulter level, but I typically save my more conservative dress perhaps for when I'm in the New Jersey area just in case; I don't want to draw any unnecessary attention to myself.

But nothing too bad, really. I typically just smile and laugh it off. Of course the worst thing you can do is kind of react and then you've got a problem. But typically the fans are pretty fun, and most things are said in jest. I mean, there's no real serious issues out there I don't feel.

Q. Is it sort of a coincidence that you've happened to play well in the last couple years here, or are we to the point where this is your kind of course??

GRAEME McDOWELL: I think it's certainly my kind of course, there's no doubt about is it. I think it's a premium on accuracy and a premium on good, aggressive iron play, good greens. I've always kind of rolled the ball here well, as well. Definitely a golf course that sets up well for me. I always think?? relatively speaking in this field, I guess, I always come in I guess you could say competitively sharp, I guess you could say a little tired. But typically I've been playing a bit of golf coming into this tournament, and I've been here a couple years ago when guys were putting new irons in the bag and they were getting ready to switch to the new grooves the next season because they've had some time off for a few months, and I'm a little sharper typically than most of the guys. I know a few have been to China and Australia and a few of the guys have been traveling, but a lot of them have been taking some time off, as well. So I guess perhaps my little bit of sharpness gives me a bit of an edge here.

But I don't know. I mean, if I was to get the job done tomorrow I may have to stay an extra day and get a real estate agent and have a look around the area because there's something weird going on here.

Q. Yesterday you talked about the 10?week vacation that you're looking forward to. A couple players the last few years have used this tournament and a win at this tournament to play really well, to springboard playing really well the next year. Do you think that can happen here for you, or is it just sort of a singular thing, the end of the season?

GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, kind of like I said yesterday, I wouldn't really see the win here as a springboard as much as it would be my recharge and rest is a springboard. If I was to win here tomorrow afternoon, would I think about playing a little earlier next season? Definitely not. I would very much see whatever happens tomorrow, I'll put 100 percent into it, and if it happens, it happens, and if not, so be it. But it'll just be a solid finish to a frustrating year, and we'll take the positives out of the year.

It would be nice to kind of get the reward because I feel like I've been playing pretty solidly for a couple months and got nothing from it. But this game, there's no such thing as deserving things, and you've got to earn it. I'll go and see what happens tomorrow, and like I said, it'll be a nice way to finish the year if I can get a good win. But there will be a few guys on that board that will have a little something to say about it for sure. I've probably got to shoot 5?under par again tomorrow and see what happens.

Q. Guys on TV were talking about players that have played in this tournament the last couple, three years in terms of the green speeds being so much different this year compared to the last couple years and they're maybe reading the putts with the eyes of the last couple years as opposed to what's actually there. Have you found yourself battling that at all in terms of getting the speed??

GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, there's no doubt about it. You read putts with a certain speed in mind. These greens are certainly part of this golf course's protection because they are very undulating. When they get quick, they can be fairly interesting. Even in the pro?am on Wednesday they were fairly rapid, a few pins were quite unplayable. There's no doubt the speed of them has made you able to play a bit more aggressively, but it's made putting quite a bit more difficult, putts that we're familiar with seeing breaking a certain amount, like the putt I had on the last there, I under?read it by two cups. It was so slow and it snapped so quickly, it was very difficult to see it doing that because I'm seeing it with a slightly different speed in mind.

All in all, I think the golf course has held up unbelievably well under the amount of rain we've had. Yes, it's very soft in places, but the greens have remained very impressive and rolled great considering.

Q. Details on your other two birdies??

GRAEME McDOWELL: I birdied 2 and 4, and where else did I make birdies? 9. I actually hit a really good 6?iron into 9 there to that back pin about six feet. Probably my best swing of the day. And a two?putt birdie from the front edge on 11, hit a driver and a 3?wood there just onto the front edge and two putts. I left a few more out there, but we'll go get them tomorrow.

Q. Talk about the details of your win in Wales.

GRAEME McDOWELL: What were the details?

Q. Did you have the lead going into the last day??

GRAEME McDOWELL: I don't know. I'm not sure. That's a good question. I might have come from behind there, I think. Yeah, I did. I think Marcel Siem had a pretty good lead there, and I went pretty and he kind of imploded. Yeah, you'd have to look; I'm not sure how many times I've won from the front. Hopefully I'll have one tomorrow.

Q. Given your great track record here and at Pebble Beach, just a bit puzzled why you didn't think of establishing a bar in California instead of Florida??

GRAEME McDOWELL: There's no doubt there's something in the Californian air for me. Even Olympic this year to a certain extent, Pebble, three times I've played here have been very kind to me. I need to probably add a little bit more West Coast Swing into my schedule. Somehow I probably need to start looking at playing out here, Torrey Pines, AT&T. It's definitely going to have to factor into my schedule going forward.

I know I'm not going to do it next year, but I may look to the following year playing a little bit more West Coast. It's definitely a good hunting ground for me.

We'll have to extend the concept over this part of the world. Probably got to make sure the one in Lake Nona works first.

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