WGC-Cadillac interview: Graeme McDowellMarch 08, 2013
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GRAEME McDOWELL: Nice to finish with a couple birdies. It was a solid day today. I drove the ball really well today. Probably the best I've driven t this season. Put a new driver in the bag this week, just with slightly more loft on it than I've been using, just getting a little bit more flight and controlling my flight a little bit better.
So drove it great today. There's not a lot of rough on this golf course, but you've got to keep it in the fairways to give yourself a chance to control it coming into the greens, because they are super firm and super fast and you really need to be able to spin the ball a little bit coming into the greens.
That was one of the keys today, the way I drove it. Putting these greens well. Probably putting them as well as I ever have. There's just a lot less grain this week. Don't know what they are doing with them, letting them burnout and dig them out Monday, so doesn't matter what happens to them this weekend. They are funny colors already, yellow and brown and all sort of stuff going on out there.
Q. Weekend conditions for Thursday and Friday already?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It's been really firm. Obviously very dry conditions, dry and windy and warm. Yeah, they do look like Saturday and Sunday greens. I would call them Saturday greens. Not quite Sunday greens yet but they were certainly Saturday greens yet.
Interesting to see what happens with the forecast this weekend. Someone said a little bit more wind, so it's going to be a really, really tough test if it starts to blow around here.
Q. Is there appreciation for the star power at the top of the board?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Absolutely. I saw Phil sneaking up the leaderboard there behind me and I said to Kenny, I said, let's spoil this party tomorrow. I'm sure they would have liked Tiger and Phil in the last group tomorrow, would have been great for the tournament, but I certainly will enjoy the position of being in the last group and the mix. That's right where I wants to be.
So star power and all that, but I'm happy to be out there as well. Great to see the best players in the game playing as well as they are. Always exciting to have Tiger and Phil playing well. It brings the crowds and puts people behind their TV screens and that's what's important.
Q. Will this feel different than Chevron?
GRAEME McDOWELL: You mean playing with Tiger? Just a level of tournament I guess. A lot more prestigious here, a lot more on the line here. We're talking about WGCs and prestige within the game. It's stronger, deeper field. You know, trickier golf course.
But you know, having said all that, I've played with Tiger many times, many stages. I feel like I've learned a lot over the years playing with him. Tomorrow is not about winning the golf tournament. Tomorrow is just about maintaining position, maintaining the way I'm playing and trying to give myself a chance come Sunday afternoon.
It doesn't really matter who I'm playing with tomorrow. You know, Tiger always brings his own interesting little circus inside the ropes. But like I say, I've been there many times and you know, always look forward to be playing with him. And he certainly looks like if you can finish one ahead of him this weekend, it looks like you'll do okay here.
Q. What's the biggest thing you have learned playing in a group with him, and secondly, do you sort of relish that? Do you thrive on it?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I guess, what have I learned, not to be intimidated by him or the circus around him well, what am I trying to say.
The intimidating thing about playing with him is what goes on inside the ropes, and it isn't him, that's kind of what I'm saying. He's an incredible guy to play with, very sporting, always complimentary, and like I say I've played with him enough now to feel comfortable.
Like I say it's more the environment that goes on inside and route side the ropes, a little louder, a little busier and that's really what I've learned to understand and control and deal with and kind of get acclimatized to.
But end of the day, you know, it really doesn't matter who you're playing with. You're playing against the golf course. That's the great thing about this sport. The other guy can't tackle you. The other guy can't hit your golf ball. All you can do is just play this great golf course and come the back nine Sunday, we'll see what happens.
Q. Given the upswing you've been on playing wise, what part of you is excited about playing and what part of you is anxious to feel the fruits of it?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I have to say I'm generally feeling quite calm and patient inside. I don't feel like I'm trying to force the issue too much. I guess I found a little state of mind at Tiger's event last year where, you know, I felt very, sort of at moments in my career in my past, where I felt very under control and calm emotionally and I've found that really the best place for me to be when I'm playing great golf. Like I say there's Mr. Watson, how are you.
Q. Speaking of calm and emotional.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Speaking of emotions. Yeah, I feel like I'm in a nice, calm, confident place right now, and like I say, not trying to force the issue.
Q. You had ten weeks off over the winter?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I did.
Q. You're getting married in September, you're becoming a restauranteur in the next week are or two. How much is what's going on around life, as well as on the golf course, of help to you?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I think it's nice to have nice positive influences off the golf course to keep you occupied I guess. Got a great feeling, a fun restaurant opening next week. I've got some good stuff going on in my life which helps relax and takes the mind off golf during weeks off I suppose.
But like I say, I'm in a nice place right now. Very happy where I'm at, and that certainly makes for a good state of mind on the golf course.