What they said: Graeme McDowellMarch 25, 2012
PGA TOUR staff
Courtesy ASAP Sports.
Arnold Palmer Invitational transcript archive GRAEME McDOWELL: It was such a hard day today. Pins were tucked again, tough breeze, very major-like. I just didn't control my ball flight well enough. Made a few too many mistakes but was the kind of golf course today, it was hard enough to make mistakes on.
It was kind of fun there for a time making a few bombs. He was just going to be hard to get close to today. He controlled his ball well and in the end, had to shoot 4-under to win, 3-under for a playoff, and it's a tough ask on this golf course. Tricky greens that were crusty and tough to putt on this afternoon.
It was an up-and-down day for sure. There was a lot of good, and a few too many mistakes. Like I say 12, was a big turning point for me. I tried to hit the aggressive lay-up, tugged it in the bunker left myself 90 yards out of a trap into the wind, which is not what you want and got a little too aggressive with a putt. That was a big key. If I make birdie there, make I can put a squeeze on him. I just never really got close enough to him today.
Q. You've got to be excited about where your game is right now??
GRAEME McDOWELL: I'm very excited with my game. Second place finish at a big event really sets up my spring season into the summer. I felt my game bubbling under the surface nicely and I'm very happy with a lot of the golf shots I've hit this week. I've putted well, and every facet of my game is in decent shape and I'm excited about Houston next week and on to Augusta.
Q. Two good weeks ahead of you.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I'm very excited about it. Like I say, my game is in good shape, spirits are high. I'm not going to be disappointed. Got beaten by the better man today and I'll take some good thoughts into next week.
Q. Tough day conditions-wise; what was it like from your perspective??
GRAEME McDOWELL: Tough day conditions-wise. You know, plugging into the right trap on 1 and making double was just not the start I had in mind. I let him get ahead of me early and he was very tough to get close to after that. Some good stuff today mixed in with some mistakes. All in all very happy with the way my game is feeling.
Today was tricky, though. Those pins were tucked away, some strong crosswinds. And they were getting firm and crusty and shiny later on there, so it was tough.
Q. Was it a case of you playing well and him playing better??
GRAEME McDOWELL: No, it was a case of me playing average and he was playing well. Like I say, giving him a two-shot start on the first green was just not what I was looking for. I had a ball above my feet lie on one, trying to hit a hook back there into the green and just got under it a little bit.
I hit a lot of quality iron shots, I'm very proud of myself the way I hung in there this week. This is a tough golf course, and like I say, it's a great warmup for Augusta, because this is a very major-like golf course.
Q. Nobody broke 70 today.
GRAEME McDOWELL: That says a lot about the way this course was set up today. It was difficult. The greens were firm. The whole course was speeding up faster and firmer as the week went on, and this was a good, stiff breeze today, mixed in with the fact that the temperatures dropped by about five degrees, ten degrees, which makes the wind play heavier again.
It was affecting the ball dramatically today. It was hard. It was tough. Like I say it was tough for me to go chasing flags to go chasing him down, because you really couldn't do it. It was a tough course.
Q. For people that skipped this event, saying that Transitions was a harder golf course and that was going to be a better preparation course than this was --
GRAEME McDOWELL: People skipped Transitions to play here?
Q. No, people skipped here to play Transitions.
GRAEME McDOWELL: This is a great setup. The greens this week, and that's probably the bit I'm most proud of. Like I say, I happened to run into a resurgent Tiger Woods. But these things happen. You know, I hung in there, pretty tough, middle of the round. Like I say, 12 was a big turning point for me, making bogey there just killed my momentum a little bit. But all in all a great week.
Q. What did it mean to have your parents out here this week??
GRAEME McDOWELL: A lot of fun to have the folks out here obviously. They spend a couple of months out here in Florida this time of the year, and to come here to Bay Hill, I guess my second hometown event really if you like, and to play as well as I have with them in the crowd; the PGA TOUR really looked after my mom this week, giving her a cart to ride around in. I'm sure she enjoyed the experience out there today.
Q. What was the difference coming down the stretch??
GRAEME McDOWELL: Four shots. I just never got close enough to him. You know, I said to myself, if I could get within a couple coming into 16, maybe I could have a shot, but just like I said, I made too many mistakes and never got there.
You know, 16, perhaps I could have played that hole more aggressively if I was close, but just got to the point where I was playing for second coming in.
Q. The big bomb on No. 6, he came back in with a tap-in birdie and didn't seem to give you any openings??
GRAEME McDOWELL: Every time I got close to him, I made a mistake, like 9, for example, you know, I hit a bad drive there, thought I cleaned it up well, hit a great chip down there four feet and the putt goes the other way on me. I birdie 11 and tried to be too aggressive with my lay up and hit it too aggressive in the trap and end up three-putting. I just tried to be too aggressive. I was never really close enough to him. I was always pushing. I was always trying. And the last five or six holes were always going to play super-tough.
Wasn't the start I was looking for. I hit my irons to the correct side of the pin all week, and the first hole I get a little under a 5?iron and I just buried that thing in the right trap. Inevitably, it led to a 6, and kind of steed he'd the ship with an eagle on 6 was pretty fun.
The big turning point of the day was on 9 which I misread and trying to be too aggressive with my lay-up on 12 and hit it into the trap and three-putted. That was just it. I never really got close enough to him. Tiger played great, controlled his ball well, made fewer mistakes than I did and I just never really got close enough to him. But it was a fun day and good to see him back winning tournaments again.
Q. What does this do moving into the Masters??
GRAEME McDOWELL: I'm look forward to the Shell Houston Open this week, my game is in great shape and I'm taking positive thoughts away from this week. I feel like I can compete any week I tee it up now and that's the key really going into next week and going into Augusta. I'm excited about the next couple of weeks golf and happy where I'm at right now.
Q. You had a front row seat watching Tiger Woods win for the first time in 30 months; how much did the golf world change, if any, today??
GRAEME McDOWELL: I think he really just kind of nailed home his come back. Great to have a front row seat watching maybe the greatest of all time doing what he does best, winning golf tournaments.
Of course, I believed I had a chance today, but I just never really got close enough to the guy. He played well today and deserves his win, and you know, great to have him back winning tournaments. I think he's great for the world of golf, and great for the excitement levels and the atmosphere and TV and fans, and great for this game.
Q. We just heard news moments ago that Mr. Palmer was taken to a nearby hospital because of complications; what's your reaction to that??
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, you know, I came walking up the 18th green up the slope and I was keeping an eye out to see Mr. Palmer to shake his hand and I was surprised to see him not around, and when we just heard the news on the side that he had been taken to the hospital, of course we were very upset and certainly praying that everything is going to be okay. That really puts a little bit of a dampener of the spirits on 18th green when Tiger is going to pick up his trophy.
There's going to be a lot of thoughts going out to Mr. Palmer. Like I say, if he's watching, I hope he feels better and it's just a false alarm and everything is okay.
He is what is special about this tournament, himself, being the great host and MasterCard being great sponsors. Between them they put a fantastic events on and I love it and say I say, our prayers are with Mr. Palmer right now.