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THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

July 14, 2011

Graeme McDowell

SANDWICH, ENGLAND

GRAEME McDOWELL: I got off to just a horrible start. Three days' perfect preparation, nice warm-up this morning, walk onto the first tee and just put one of the worst swings of the week on it. My second shot all I could do was just hit it over the back, and I just pulled a horrible lie. It was absolute, pure sand back there. I make double and walk to the second tee wondering what the hell just happened.
But I managed to hang in there and made a great putt on the second which really settled me down. After that it was about hanging tough. We really got lucky with the draw. The wind laid down and I had a chance to make a score on the back nine, which I did.

Q. (Inaudible.)
GRAEME McDOWELL: There's no doubt. You've got to really rely on your caddie and I've got to thank him a little bit out there today for keeping me in the moment because my head was spinning after a few holes. I really wasn't feeling particularly settled, wasn't feeling comfortable. Like I said, I had a great preparation for this Open and four swings later up the first fairway my head is spinning. That's what this course can do to you and that's what major championships can do to you. I guess maybe four or five years ago I wouldn't have been able to turn that around, but I'm a little bit more of an experienced player nowadays. I was able to hang in there and keep myself well in the tournament and give myself a great weekend, hopefully in prospect.

Q. Here you 68 in the top 10, you must like where you are.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Absolutely. It really is about jockeying for position the next couple days. The old cliché, you can't win it today, you can only lose it, and I tried to lose it and I managed to hang in there. I'm in a great position with a chance to go out there tomorrow morning. 54 holes left on a golf course which can throw anything, the weather, the elements. We got lucky this afternoon, there's no doubt about that. We had a great tee time. The guys who teed off two hours after us are having an unbelievable tee time.
But that's The Open. When you've got 6:30 in the morning to 4:20 in the afternoon, that's a huge difference in tee times, and you can get lucky, and I think we got lucky this afternoon.

Q. You've talked about your putting this year not being in the same zone it was last year. It was today, though.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I made a few wee tweaks to my putter. The same putter but I put a little bit more weight on the sole, and I changed the grip after about two years. There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears on the grip. I didn't want to change it but I haven't been putting all that well lately and I wanted to try to inject a little bit of magic back into the putter. So I made a few small changes to it and it was feeling a lot more solid, so it was nice to make some putts today.

Q. It's a good-looking forecast for tomorrow morning.
GRAEME McDOWELL: So I hear. If we were to get the best side of it again tomorrow -- well, what can you say. You've just got to sort of count yourself lucky when it happens because the luck evens itself out over the period of a year and over the period of a season and a career. A bit of luck, and I'm looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow and very happy with some of the swings I made coming in today, and just going to try and hang tough and try to have a good weekend.

Q. Perseverance was probably the biggest key today?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, perseverance, staying in the present, and just believing in myself. I've hit the ball fabulous in practise. I can't hit it any better than what I've done the last three days, and like I say, the first just completely rocked me; it really did. Like I said, my caddie keeps me on the straight and narrow and tries to say good things to me, not that I really want to listen sometimes, but he works hard trying to talk me in off the ledge as we call it. And he did that well today a few times.
You know, the putter kept me in there. I holed some nice putts to really keep my round on the rails, and like I say, with the wind subsiding, it gave me a chance to score. So back in 31 was a pretty nice effort and should make dinner taste pretty good.

Q. Patience is key on a course like this. How much has your patience contributed to --
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, patience is definitely a word that you have to echo in your head at all major championships. Maybe not for Congressional, 17-under what Rory finished, that wasn't much patience involved there. That was just green light, go for everything. But generally patience is what you need, especially in links golf because you can get a bad bounce here and a good bounce there, and you've just got to try and stay tough and stay patient.
There are opportunities on this golf course even when it is windy. Some of the holes play easy and some of them play tougher. But I managed to stay out of the bunkers off the tee today, which was key, and hopefully I can keep doing that. But a lot of golf left.

Q. Nice to be up there with Darren, as well. Tied for fifth.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, myself and Darren got the right side of the draw, no doubt about it. I watched a little bit of Rory's round this morning, and what did he finish?

Q. 71.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Solid, good effort out there this morning and right there in the mix. So great to have the three Northern Irish boys in contention with 54 holes to go. But like I say, a lot of golf left, and we just feel fortunate we were this afternoon. The sun is even going to come out for a beautiful evening.

Q. What's the drill this afternoon?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Just going to work on a few little things on my game for a bit. Drills are exactly the same. The way we were going after the first three or four holes there might have been a few medicinal cold beers needed. But thankfully I managed to get things back on track, and it'll just be some good food, a bit of food with the folks, and a quiet night in bed and up early in the morning ready to go.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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