MORE INTERVIEWS: RBC Canadian Open interviews archive
THE MODERATOR: Please welcome Graeme McDowell to the Shaw Media Center. Graeme, it's your first RBC Canadian Open since 2002, but with the win at the RBC Heritage earlier this year, maybe you can tell us what it's like to be back here at the Canadian Open and we'll open it up for some questions?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, first and foremost, first time back here in 11 years, that makes me feel old. I guess this is probably only my third PGA TOUR start as a rookie professional back in 2002. Played across at Angus Glen. I thought it was Glen Abbey and I had to Google it and have a look and found out it was actually Angus Glen.
So, obviously, great to be here again. My first season as an RBC Ambassador. Got off to a nice start there at Hilton Head by winning the RBC Heritage, and it's a lot of fun to be here in Canada. I've had an amazing reception the last couple of days. I've met more people from Northern Ireland I think here the last couple days than I generally do when I'm in Northern Ireland. So it's been cool, and like I say, a great reception.
The golf course is fantastic. The rough is very gnarly. You've got to keep the ball in play, and control your ball on a tricky golf course. So a great field, and I'm just excited to be here.
Q. National Championships, you've obviously played in a lot of them and you've won the U.S. Open and just come off the British. I'm just wondering if in Canada, are you getting the feel of a national open here? Do you see with just 19 players and Canadians in the field, do you see more of a focus being on them than you would at a regular national open?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I think you're just acutely aware of kind of the prestige of this event, kind of hearing whispers of how this event used to be viewed back in the '70s, and '80s. I heard guys say this was viewed as a fifth major by the guys back in the day. It's amazing. We play for so much money around the world, events kind of lose their identity and their prestige because money can kind of ‑‑ there is never a place as prestige in tradition and you should never forget that. When you come to a phenomenal event like the Canadian Open. I feel the same way about the Irish Open. We're very passionate as home, national players.
I've been very lucky in my career to win a lot of national opens. I won the Scottish Open, the Welsh Open, the Italian Open, U.S. Open, Korean Open, the French Open a few weeks ago. National Championships are very, very special, and we should never forget that purse, without even looking at purses, the prestige and history and tradition, names on a trophy.
It's great to come to a tournament like this one which has such a strong sense of identity, and it would be a great one to add your name to.
Q. Do you see that being more of a focus than you would normally on the 19 Canadians?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I'm sure the Canadian players are feeling under pressure. I certainly feel, we always feel that at the Irish Open. Even back when I was a rookie and perhaps not as successful player as I am these days, you know, ten years ago I felt the pressure I felt at the Irish Open and the scrutiny, media attention, the spotlight, the fans driving you on and wanting to you play well.
There is always that extra bit of attention for a home player. So I wish the boys all the best this week.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Like I say, I've been pretty overwhelmed by the reception I've had the last couple of days from a lot of ex‑pats coming from Northern Ireland. It's been amazing.
Q. Any pubs?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, they've had a few pub recommendations. The Queen's Head in Oakville is supposed to be the best pint of Guinness in this part of the world.
Q. You've had three worldwide victories and couple of missed cuts for a while as well. How do you feel right now going into this busy stretch of golf for this year?
GRAEME MCDOWELL: I feel quite good. I feel like I've paced myself well this season. I've played less golf through June than I ever have in my career. Perhaps hurt me a little bit at the U.S. Open. I was a bit underprepared and underplayed at that point, affected my play a little bit.
But with my win at the French Open some decent play at the British last week. I didn't quite finish the job on the weekend, but I come here this week fresh and ready and looking forward to a busy run of golf. I'm playing four in a row right now, the Open Championship, and the RBC Canadian Open, over to Firestone next week and the US PGA. So a lot of golf and into the FedEx Playoff, and the week after that I'm going to get married.
So I have a busy seven or eight weeks coming up, shall we say. But I'm feeling fresh, ready and motivated and those are the important things.
Q. Can you talk about the start of the busy schedule that's happened this time of year as far as the Open Championship and this and going forward?
GRAEME McDOWELL: For sure. I mean, I think especially as both a PGA TOUR and European Tour player, from the U.S. Open I typically go back to Europe and play, BMW Munich, Irish Open, French Open, Scottish Open, British Open, and with my RBC relationship, jump into a jet, come here to Canada, Firestone, PGA, and the FedEx Playoff. So it's kind of crazy.
You've got to take weeks off. You can't play every week, and events that I enjoy and love, I'm having to kind of sacrifice those and pick and choose. You've got to be fresh for this run of events.