MORE INTERVIEWS: World Challenge transcripts archive
JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Graeme McDowell into the interview room after a 6 under par 66, sits at 9 under par through two rounds at the World Challenge. Great start today, three birdies the first three holes. Just get your comments on that and the rest of the day.
GRAEME McDOWELL:Yeah. A good day's work. Golf course is obviously very receptive, ball in hand. So it's opportunity to be very aggressive coming into these pins.
The scoring wasn't very good yesterday, I think due to some of the pins being quite tricky. They were a little easier today. I think that's why we saw some lower scoring, but golf course is playing longer than normal for sure. Not much run on these fairways, and I think that's kind of keeping an edge on the scoring.
I still believe there's something particularly low out there this weekend for someone. Certainly, 7, 8, 9 under par is not out of the question on this golf course. It's very receptive, and the green surfaces have remained very pure as well. You can make some putts.
I've certainly got my small little cushion going into the weekend, but all I can do is concentrate on my game because like I said, I believe someone will go low this weekend at some point. And there are a lot of birdie chances on this golf course and you really just gotta stay patient and wait for your opportunities to come along.
JOHN BUSH: Okay. Questions.
Q. You talked about opportunities, and of course, being receptive, but it seemed like players repeatedly today left putts short, left chip shots short, approaches short. What's going on out there that maybe they think things are a little speedier than they actually are?
GRAEME McDOWELL:The greens look fast, but let's be honest, there's been a huge amount of rain the last few of days. The course is soft and slow. They didn't cut the greens today. They could only get rollers on them, so they couldn't get mowers on them. So they were a decent foot to two feet slower than they generally are on this golf course.
Even in the pro am they were pretty fast on Wednesday, and slower yesterday, even slower again today. So I guess some of the guys are having trouble adapting. But like I say, the surfaces remain very pure out here and there's definitely a score out there.
Q. Does the weather have an impact, do you feel, on your having a little cushion? Does that make it harder for guys with the weather being what it's expected to be for those guys to come from behind or do you feel because it is soft and maybe more gettable, that there's a chance that guys can come up and catch you?
GRAEME McDOWELL:Yes. It's been a little wet and chilly ish, but let's be honest, there's hardly been a breath of wind the last two days. It's been perfect scoring conditions.
The golf course is a little sort of soaked in places. Balls are plugging in the fairway here and there, but all in all the golf course is hanging in there really well, considering.
I think the forecast is a little better tomorrow, but like I say, I think there are going to be some low scores on the weekend. And this golf course guys start to settle down on it and understand it and be aggressive and free up a little bit, I suppose, and like I say, watch out for someone shooting low tomorrow.
Q. About three years ago you were on your way to Florida and stopped here and played. Was that the first time you played in this tournament, and did you know anything about it? And why did you take you told us a couple of days ago how much you liked the course. Did you immediately take to it and why?
GRAEME McDOWELL:2009 was the first time I played this event. A little lucky break kind of getting a late invite in here, and kind of provided an interesting catalyst for things to come in 2010, and you know, sometimes the stars align, and this was certainly part of those stars aligning for me in 2009.
But you know, 2010 obviously I played pretty well here again, and I guess the great thing about this golf course for me is I feel like if you can play it aggressively off the tee and hit it in the fairway, you can pretty much feel like you can birdie every hole. You know, it's always pretty receptive, and the greens are very pure, and it's not a particularly long golf course.
It's just been a golf course that's always fit my eye, great backdrops, nice undulations. It's just it's a fun course to play. I just always have fun here. And you know, I think I'm always in a fairly relaxed mood here because I'm off the back of five weeks on the road, and I'm very glad to be back on U. S. soil, you know, which is kind of home soil for me nowadays.
I'm looking forward to a break, so I'm always in a relaxed mood when I'm here this week, and I've played very relaxed type golf the last two days. Yes, the intensity level will start to crank up a little bit from tomorrow onwards.
Q. When you're playing Port Rush and links courses like that where you basically have to steer the ball a little bit more than here, does that help you at all in getting to a course like this, or does it matter at all?
GRAEME McDOWELL:You know, I don't think this course has much resemblance to Port Rush in any shape or form, you know (laughs).
Q. I didn't mean that.
GRAEME McDOWELL:No, no. The golf course suits my type of game. I'm an accurate driver of the ball. I'm a pretty aggressive medium and short iron play and when I can roll the ball well, that's why the golf course sets up well for me: Good wedge playing and good driver of the ball, that's the key here.
Q. 2009, you talked about that being a catalyst for 2010. Are you looking at this week being a springboard to 2013?
GRAEME McDOWELL:I'm looking to the next ten weeks off being a springboard to 2013, to be honest with you. You know, I would love to compete and play well this weekend, you know, really to kind of put a little icing on what's been a mediocre year.
Despite the fact that I feel like I've played some decent golf this year, I really don't have a lot to show for myself, and this would be a nice way to finish. Putting no pressure on myself, like I say.
These next ten weeks are going to be very important to me to recharge and refocus and reset, because I know I'm in a good place, both on and off the course from where I'm going, and I feel very positive about next season, regardless of what happens this weekend, but it would be nice to play well.
Q. What do you do with ten weeks off?
GRAEME McDOWELL:Try and stay out of the bar as much as possible. You know, December will be very much recharging and relaxing and moving into my new house in Orlando and spending some time with friends and family. And January will be detoxing and practicing and getting ready to go on do it all again, I suppose.
It's been a long three years, four years for me, and I'm look forward to some time off. Ten weeks off will be interesting. We'll see.
Q. Just going from the first question, it's been a while now since your last win. What would it mean to you to achieve a victory this weekend to end the season?
GRAEME McDOWELL:Thanks for noticing that. (Laughs). It would mean a lot to me, obviously. It's an 18 man field here and it's not like beating 156 guys, but there's 18 pretty good players here. And it's certainly, you know, seeing I won here in 2010, definitely one of the most fun victories I think I've ever had, just to hole two great putts against maybe the best player that's ever lived, that was pretty fun.
So this event has always got good memories for me. Like I say, I have a very relaxed approach to this week generally. I've really enjoyed my last couple days of golf. But let's be honest, I love to win. Winning is difficult. Like I say, there's low scores on this golf course. I think someone can make up quite a deficit out here. So all I can do is keep my hat down and keep doing what I'm doing hopefully, stay patient and take my chances when they come. It would mean a lot to me to win this weekend, but got 36 holes of difficult golf against some great players to come.
Q. Ten weeks, does that mean Riviera is your first?
GRAEME McDOWELL:Uh huh.
Q. And you said you haven't been home for five weeks. What time was that before and what kind of odyssey has that been that you've been out here the last month or so?
GRAEME McDOWELL:Yeah, it's been kind of tough for me. I took three weeks off after the Ryder Cup, which were much needed. To be honest with you, I went into the PLAYOFFS. Looking back I probably shouldn't have played the first playoff. I wasn't ready to play. I was kind of a little burned out after Kiawah. I wasn't ready to play and I kind of stumbled my way through the PLAYOFFS with no great success.
By the time I got to the Ryder Cup, I'd be lying if I said I was firing on all cylinders at the Ryder Cup. I didn't feel like I was myself. I felt like I burned out the battery life a little bit, and the three weeks off after the Ryder Cup were hugely important to me.
And I've been on the road. I'd been in China for two weeks. I had a quick vacation in Dubai for five days and then I was in Melbourne for a week and over to Dubai last week, and then here this week. So it's been a few miles, and to be honest with you, last night was my first decent night's sleep since I got back over here, and looking forward to hanging the clubs up for a few weeks for sure.
Q. You talked about your good vibes here. Have you thought ahead to next year when the schedule we go to the calendar year schedule starting October, this event would probably be on the back side of that and would not be obviously part of the Money List but still have world rankings points. Have you given thought as to how that might affect your decision to come back here?
GRAEME McDOWELL:Yeah, I mean I've had a decent look at the schedule next year. And you know, our end of the year is becoming a bit of a mess on the European Tour. I say a mess. It's actually starting to look quite strong, but it's a lot of golf. I'll play the FedEx playoffs. I'm hoping to take four weeks off and perhaps kind of tie the knot and enjoy that for a few weeks, but then I'll be back on the road again. Looks like there's two events in China, an event in Turkey maybe and then the Race to Dubai, so four in a row; big events, all six, seven million dollar events. And then it would be this event or this new event in South Africa or the Phoenix or the Australian Masters.
And then the week after that is the World Cup of Golf when they work out what they want to do with that, so potentially six weeks there, which I don't really want to play six weeks. I said I wouldn't do this trip again, and here we go, look at the schedule next year. I'm thinking gees, which one of those am I not going to play. It's kind of tough. Hence, I've taken this break because it's full on again next year.
Am I going to be able to fit this into the schedule next year? It's looking tough, you know, but I'll certainly do my best. It will be a nice problem to have to come back and defend. That would be a good problem to have. Put it that way.
Q. The way the new season starts in the U. S., kind of the wrap around season, the way you just explained, it makes it almost more difficult for a guy who's trying to play two tours.
GRAEME McDOWELL:I've never really thought about it like that, but yeah, it does. Having that, the HSBC being added on is a big help because I typically play that one, and that being a counting event is a help.
But like you say, I'm probably going to have to play 14 events between February and August, as opposed to 15 between January and October. So makes it more difficult for sure.
You know, the playoffs, and our version of the playoffs makes the end of the year pretty full on. When the guys over on that side of the pond are sort of hanging their clubs up for a couple of months, we're kind of putting the pedal down in Europe. So there's a lot of golf to play.
I guess it's a good thing. We have a lot of quality events around the world and golf as healthy as it is, but it makes it difficult for a two tour guy like me it makes it pretty difficult. It's a lot of golf.
Q. I also was curious how one attempts to stay out of a bar if one is building a bar.
GRAEME McDOWELL:(Laughs). That's a valid point. Actually my bar is not going to be open probably till the end of January. So that's a big help.
And if you'll all over at Bay Hill next year, you're certainly invited over for a few beers at my restaurant over by Lake Nona, so please come and check it out.
JOHN BUSH: Graeme, we thank you for your time.
GRAEME McDOWELL:Thanks, guys.