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McDowell Thrilled with Open Victory
Graeme McDowell survived a brutal course, threats by three of the world's best golfers and the nerve-shattering cauldron of Championship Sunday to win the 110th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
The 30-year-old from Portush, Northern Ireland, closed with a 3-over 74 to be the only player in the field to finish in even-par 284, one stroke clear of France's Gregory Havret, who shot a 72. McDowell earned $1.35 million with his first major title.
His final-round score was the highest for a U.S. Open champion since Andy North's 74 in 1985. Yet it was enough for McDowell to become the first champion from Europe since Tony Jacklin in 1970 at Hazeltine.
"To win at Pebble Beach, to join the names - Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Tom Kite, Tiger Woods, me - wow!" McDowell exclaimed. "I'm not sure if I belong in that list but, hey, I'm there now. It's a pretty amazing feeling."
After picking up the U.S. Open trophy and giving his acceptance speech in front of a large gathering of fans, USGA officials and tournament volunteers, McDowell went to the media room for the following interview session.
MODERATOR: It is my great honor to welcome to the media center the 110th U.S. Open champion, Graeme McDowell. Can you give some thoughts on winning the championship and what you're feeling right now?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It's a pretty surreal feeling right now, I have to say. It hasn't really sunk in. I don't think I've put this thing down since they gave it to me. It was a good day. I really stuck to my plan, which was stick to my game plan, stay patient, stay calm and really put some nice calm swings on it and not really get sucked in by what the rest of the guys were doing. I did that for about ten holes. I bogeyed 9 and 10, didn't hit a good drive on 11, looked up at the leaderboard and saw it and really sort of knuckled down at that point, really sort of tried to get myself going and play hard on the back nine. And I was actually really proud of myself. I made some good swings, hit some good irons. Made a great 7-iron to 12 to give myself an opportunity there. Sorry, 13.
And obviously bogeyed 14 and gave myself a great chance on 15 again. But obviously I'm sure Gregory is disappointed. Bogey on 17 and not birdieing the last. I was watching him do it. 17 was just brutal today. It was a very difficult hole. The winds switched completely on me there. I didn't even get close to the right club in the end made bogey myself. I had an opportunity to go for 18 in two, but made the decision not to do that when he didn't make four. And it was a nice easy five in the end, which was thankfully no drama. And just very proud of myself the way I handled myself this week, and I just can't believe I have major champion after my name from now on. It's a special feeling.
Q. Congratulations, Graeme.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Thank you.
Q. We talked at Tiger's tournament this past year about the opportunities you were going to have this year to win a major and you thought you had a good chance because some of the courses fit your game. Describe your feelings of winning here at Pebble Beach, if that's even more special. Do you mind if some of us would like to being honorary Irish men, as well?
GRAEME McDOWELL: The U.S. Open has always been a tournament, you know, if people asked me which major did I feel like my game is most suited to, I normally said the U.S. Open because I've always been pretty good off the tee, accuracy-wise. I've never really been the longest hitter in the world. But I certainly put a bit of yardage on the last year. But U.S. Open, I don't think I've ever missed the cut in the U.S. Open. The golf course has always kind of fitted my eye in some shape or form. I've just never really felt I had the short game to do it. I worked really hard on my short game the last couple of years, and came here early and really took my time on taking the golf course apart as far as the psychology to get around here.
I thought I executed my game plan really well every day, stayed patient most days. Thursday was probably my most impatient day. I felt like I felt a little frustrated out there. I promised myself I was going to stay calm and be tough over the weekend. I was proud of myself the way I stayed calm today. To win at Pebble Beach, to join the names, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Tom Kite, Tiger Woods, me (laughter) wow. I'm not quite sure if I belong in that list, but, hey, I'm there now. It's a pretty amazing feeling. This is -- I'd take a Major championship anywhere on the planet, I didn't really care. But, you know, to win the U.S. Open here at Pebble Beach is a special feeling. This golf course -- I came here I think in 2001, I was a college player over in Birmingham in Alabama, and we were playing a golf tournament locally, and we came here to have a look around. We were in awe of the place, and thinking, wow. It reminded me of home quite a lot, the coast line and the ocean and just the beauty of it all. The sun doesn't shine quite as much as it does here as it does at home.
Yes, it's a special feeling. It was great. The scenery here at Pebble, it's a great way of taking your mind off what was going on. Anytime I felt nervous or felt myself getting ahead of myself I just had a look around and just took in the scenery and really just tried to use that to bring me back into the present. It's just a special place to play golf. I thought Mike Davis did a great job with the golf course this week. It rewarded good golf and punished aggressive golf. Punished bad golf. If you hit it in the wrong place you were in trouble around here. If you hit it in the correct places you could make birdies. I did, I made some nice birdies Thursday and Friday. I think I only made one today. I kind of ran out of steam today. I really made -- I really tried to go out and par the holes today and thankfully that was enough.
Q. You won your first title in Scandinavian Masters, how important was that victory for your career?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I think every victory is incredibly important, you know. Until you do it the first time you don't really believe that you can do it. To win in Sweden like I did, it was my 4th European Tour event. I got an invitation to the tournament and really kick started my career. So every victory has been hard fought. This one's no different. Wales was a big deal for me a couple of weeks ago, because it was the first victory that really felt different. It felt like a different victory to me, because I felt like I was ready. I felt like I was ready to go places. And the victory was not something that I kind of boxed in a lot. When I won in Scotland a couple of years ago, it got me on the Ryder Cup team and it fulfilled all my dreams and it was a really special moment. I went to the British Open and ran out of steam on the weekend. This time in Wales I felt like I was ready to use that victory for big things. Little did I know what was around the corner. I couldn't imagine this week, but I felt ready for it, I really did. I felt calm and I felt confident this week. But it's tough to win and thankfully the golf course was kind to me about that.
Q. On the third green, how did you handle that long delay while Dustin was going through what he was going through? How did you handle that emotionally, and was it difficult?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I mean it's always difficult to watch a guy do what he did. To watch him make triple on 2 and go through what he went through on 3. I felt sorry for him because we've all been there. We've all experienced that. It's not a lot of fun. I said yesterday that if the Dustin Johnson that played on Saturday showed up today he was going to be tough to handle. And I felt sorry for him the way he started. Like I said, we've all been there. The delay, it didn't really bother me too much. It gave me a little chance to collect my thoughts a little bit and really kind of calm myself down. I ended up nearly making a mess of the two-putt. I left it quite short. Managed to really make a nice 6-footer there. He was a real gentleman after that. Many guys would kind of go into their own -- inside themselves and kind of be upset and be tough to play with, maybe. But I really enjoyed playing with him the last couple of days. He's a real top sportsman and a great, talented player. And playing with him certainly helped relax me the last couple of days. He handled himself really well, I thought.
Q. You came into today trailing by three shots. You shoot 3-over par and you walk away with the trophy. Could you ever have imagined a scenario like that? Are you surprised nobody was able to get under par in the last, I think, two hours of the day?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I was. I was surprised because I didn't think the golf course was set up as difficult as it has been, you know. I certainly didn't think it was a Sunday at U.S. Open setup. I was expecting to see much more brutal pin positions. To say they had it set up for scoring would be an exaggeration. It was still tough, obviously, but some of the pin positions were quite accessible, especially in the front nine. And I bogeyed 9 and 10, I looked up at the leaderboard and I was surprised to be 2 ahead, I really was. And I was surprised that Gregory Havret was the guy closest to me. No disrespect to Gregory, he's a great player, but when you have Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els obviously there, you're not expecting Gregory Havret to be the guy you've got to fend off (laughter).
But I was very happy to be in that position on the back nine. And when I saw that I really made myself knuckle down. I made some great swings coming in, I have to say. Obviously bogeying 14. 14, I said I would set par for that hole for the weekend. I think I played it 2-over par. So that's just a brute of a hole. I really had a great chance on 13, and on 15 I thought I made that putt. I said to Kenny, my caddie, I said I'm knocking this thing here, and it was right in the middle, didn't go in. Really good four on 16, and 4. And watched Gregory make his bogey on 7. I had an awful decision on 17. I obviously felt there was a bit of help in that wind and hit a 4-iron up in the air, and it got nailed by the wind, and made my bogey and when he didn't birdie 18, you know, it was nice to be able to cruise on there and make my five. I felt calm and under control and made some nice swings. I was surprised, any thing 3-over par was going to get the job done today, I really didn't.
Q. Congratulations on your victory.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Thank you.
Q. You're humbly there. You mention -- and I sat with Erik Compton, and he was your old rival in college. He kept saying I think Graeme is going to pull it off. He's looking composed. He's doing well. I'm reading your college stats, and you played 12 starts and you won six events with an average of 69.6, which is better than Luke Donald and Tiger Woods records in college. And you were, I think, 28th ranked in the world in '08. So this is due. I walked on the golf course with Erik and Ernie Els on the golf course, and I thought this is like in Ireland. And Erik said it was too cold for him. How did that weather play into your hand and that's my question, did it really feel warm? I know you mentioned that earlier.
GRAEME McDOWELL: That's kind of like one of my answers, kind of long winded (laughter). Yeah, you know, I certainly felt like I've served my apprenticeship to be here right now. Did I think I was ready to win a major? I don't know. Maybe deep down I did think I was ready. I've certainly been there a few times. I've put myself in position a few times, and I've learned a lot about myself. And I said here, honestly I'm very proud of myself and I've put the work in. I've got a great team of people around me. It's a special, special feeling. But there's no doubt this week had a links feel to it. But, you know, you take away the heavy rough around the greens and this course was quite linksy. It was firm and fast green surrounds. The wind, I said on Friday about the wind being different from a hot wind, the ocean sea breeze has an effect on the golf ball. Most of the guys are good wind players. Anytime there's bad weather, they say this is your kind of day, right? I say, I prefer sunshine, really. I really do.
But do the conditions suit me? I'm used to them, no doubt about it. It did feel like home. It had a chill in the air. It was cold. My hands were cold coming down the stretch the last few holes. And the golf course was phenomenal, though. I thought we were blessed with the weather this week. You're never quite sure what to expect when you come up this far north. I played in AT&T's here and it's been cold and nasty. I thought we had a great week's weather. I thought the golf course was well set up and the weather proved to be a really good test. Level par, no one shot under par. I guess the USGA got what they wanted again. And it was a lot of fun. Like I say, I was proud of the way I handled myself this week.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Thank you.
Q. I believe you had your father see the final round. Was there something special being Father's Day. And secondly, after you've won this, is it going to be more on the U.S. PGA Tour, or are you going to play the European Tour?
GRAEME McDOWELL: My father said there's only one thing I wanted for Father's Day, and I wasn't quite sure whether I was going to be able to deliver that. It was a tough present to come up with, but there you go. It's been special to have him here this week. There was a point during the season I wasn't sure I was going to be here. He was excited to come here this week. And I think it's only the second time he saw me win. I don't know if he's running around here somewhere. He watched me win at Loch Lomond. This is kind of special to watch me win here on Father's Day. It was really cool to have him come out on the green and give me a hug. He's an emotional guy. He was emotional before the round today. He's been emotional all week. He's really enjoyed it. I'm about the only one that's not really showing any emotion right now. It hasn't really sunk in. It hasn't really hit me yet. I work so hard at being calmed and disciplined out there today that I'm still feeling a little too calm right now. I need to get a beer in my hand or something, I don't know (laughter).
Your other question, am I going to play a bit more in the States next year? That was my plan, my plan was to get my PGA Tour card this year, and play a little bit more golf out here this week. I've played quite a lot out here this season, I looked at the FedEx Cup, et cetera, et cetera, and not being a Ryder Cup year next year, my plan was to come over and play a little bit more. I'm not sure if I get a PGA Tour card with one of these things. I think I do. I think there's a possibility that might happen. Yeah, I'm probably going to play a little bit more out here. The European Tour is my home, my home Tour, and I'm not going to turn my back on there. I'm going to remain a loyal member of the European Tour. And play my schedule, which is always something I've aimed to do. I think the great thing about golfers in Europe is we play all over the world, and I think we're better players and better people because of that. I'll continue to be a worldwide player.
Q. How did you spend your evening last night when you left the course, and how did you spend your morning this morning before you got to the course?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I didn't get out of here until pretty late last night. I think I got back to the hotel at 9:45. It was a quick shore and off to a quick bit of dinner with my manager and my dad. We had a really nice restaurant in Monterey. I can't remember the name of it. So we had a late dinner. I had my one beer. That was kind of my customary cold beer after a long day. But just the one. And I had a nice meal, and probably was asleep by 11:45. Actually slept in until about 9:30. Cup of coffee in the coffee shop down at Monterey Plaza, and just a chilled out morning. Came up to the golf course about 12. Yesterday was a difficult day because of the tee time. 3:50 p.m. is a tough tee time to prepare for. 2:15 today was a little more acceptable and easier to prepare. Yesterday a quite felt nervous leaving the hotel, and today I was a lot more in control of my emotions. I felt like a different guy today, not being in the lead, in great position. I felt more in control of my emotions today. And like I say, my preparation felt good.
Q. What is your beer of choice?
GRAEME McDOWELL: My beer of choice, anything. Amstel Light last night, but I'm not too fussy.
Q. You said the U.S. Open fit your game the best as one of the Majors. How do you feel about links golf at St. Andrews, especially with this victory under your belt?
GRAEME McDOWELL: St. Andrews, I gave it a run in 2005, I think I finished 11th or 12th, I can't remember. St. Andrews has been a course that's been good to me. I shot 12th back in 2004. St. Andrews is a special place. To go there as U.S. Open champion and with an opportunity to win another major is going to be cool. But Majors are tough to win, there's no doubt about it. I still can't believe that I'm sitting here a champion this week. So many great players in the world and golf courses are set up so difficult nowadays. Especially here at the U.S. Open. I'll be looking forward to St. Andrews immensely. It's a golf course I know really well. It's all about course knowledge and local knowledge. At St. Andrews you've got to know every bump and hump and roll in the greens. There's no doubt I'll take an amazing amount of confidence from this week. To know that I have the ability to get one of these across the line, especially to know that I have the peace of mind to feel as calm and as confident as I did coming down the stretch today. Yeah, I mean I played the back nine and what, 3-over par or whatever I did, but this is Pebble Beach, it's the U.S. Open and it's not easy. I was glad I was able to do what it took. Like I say, that was part of the way I controlled my emotions.
Q. Go over the 72 holes, what parts of your game would you attribute the win to, whether that be accurate driving or short range putting as your caddie suggested?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I generally drove the ball pretty well. I felt like I found most fairways. Maybe a little sloppy yesterday. Today was better, for sure. I found the fairways today. And coming into these greens you've got to be coming out of the short grass, simple as that. You've got to be controlling your spin. You've got to be controlling your flight. There's no doubt I putted better. I putted good this week. My long game, I mean, I think I'm leading greens in regulation in the European Tour. I knew I had the long game to do it. My putter has been a little cold this season. I've historically been a good putter, especially from short range. And that really hasn't been my strength this season. Madrid a few weeks back I kind of changed my set up a little bit, I went more orthodox on my set up, got a little more mechanically correct, my stroke has been solid.
But I don't think I was lining the putter up well. And between my caddie, he really is my rock, he has been for four years. He's not here right now, but I attribute a big part of this win to the help he has given me over the last four years. He really beats me into shape. It was kind of a little bit of his advice on the greens in Madrid a few weeks ago that has really turned my putting around. I putted good this week. I felt good on the greens. When I had opportunities I generally took them. And it really helped me make a lot of birdies. You need to make birdies on a golf course like this to after set the mistakes. Because mistakes are inevitable. No matter how good you play you're going to be in the wrong place and out of position times. The birdies really offset that early in the week.
Q. If you were a friend or family member of Graeme McDowell back home in Northern Ireland watching this, what pub are you stationed at, what beer are you drinking, and how late are you staying up tonight?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, what time is it back in the UK right now? It's 10 to 4 in the morning. If anyone is partying right now, fair play to them. I think I might catch them all up with beer next weekend. Harbor Bar, Portrush, pint of Guinness, I think there will be a few of those in my future.
Q. Before you were a professional golfer, what U.S. Open were you keenly aware of? What year? What event that stands out in your memory?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Good question. You know, one of the first ones I remember, I was a big Ernie Els fan in the '90s, when he won the U.S. Open. What was his first one? Oakmont. Yeah. That was probably the one I remember because I wanted the Lynx golf clubs he had. I wanted the Ashworth shirt that he was wearing. So I was probably 14, 15, and starting to realize that maybe I wanted to be a competitive golfer. And I remember that Open quite well. And his win at Congressional, as well. Was it at Congressional where Monty was in the mix, as well. I don't know why Ernie always sticks out in my mind when I think of U.S. Open, watching the U.S. Open. Probably those are my earliest memories.
Q. Did you have concerns about getting into the U.S. Open earlier this year, with the World Ranking, how nervous were you about that? They said that you weren't necessarily able to qualify for the Open if that were the case, talk about that?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It was Wentworth. It was the weekend of our BMW Championship. I hadn't quite got the job done on Sunday. I think I was the top 15 going into the last round and shot 74, I believe. And I had a quick heart-to-heart with my manager and caddie over a beer after the round and we really -- we had someone do the number crunching for us in the World Rankings, to see the permutations of what was happening, guys over in the States, guys in Europe, what was going to happen, where I was going to move to, the World Rankings are a pretty complex mathematical equation.
We felt like we had a decent handle on what was going on. Although it came down to a shot here and there from the guys. We ended up making the decision that it looked like I was going to hang on. There was a 36 hole qualifier, that I wasn't going to go to regardless. Because I really felt like if I didn't get in it wasn't going to be the end of my summer, you know, because I had a big week that week in Madrid, and I was going on to Wales the following week. If I didn't get into the U.S. Open, I could play the BMW in Munich this weekend. Going to the 36 hole qualifiers can mess up your routines and really take you for that week. And I figured if I did qualify and come all the way over here and maybe finished 30th and had an average week, what's that going to mean in the big picture. That was kind of my thinking. Thankfully things materialized and I hung on. I was 49th that next morning. And I remember waking up early and looking at the World Rankings, okay, my schedule is solid. I've got the U.S. Open, I've got the British Open. And little did I know. Wow.
Q. Apologies for my lack of knowledge. But could you give us a brief synopsis of your boyhood in Northern Ireland and growing up, rich kid, poor kid, and your early introduction to golf?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Certainly not a rich kid. I had a pretty humble upbringing. I had very hard working parents. Both worked full-time. I certainly didn't want for anything growing up, for sure, though. I was introduced to the game of golf probably at eight or nine years old. Portrush is probably one of the more spectacular golf courses in the UK in Ireland. And it was inevitable I was going to play golf at some point or another. I was in love with the game from the word go. I love everything about the sport. Myself, my younger brother, he's a scratch player. We did nothing but play golf for the next ten years together. My dad was an avid golfer and certainly drove me hard. He was always by my side every shot coming through any amateur career, up through college golf and into the pro ranks. Like I say, I come from a pretty humble background, but I certainly had a great upbringing, and golf was a big part of my upbringing.
I was very lucky to grow up in such a great golfing neck of the woods up there on the north coast of Ireland. And certainly believe that that was a big reason why I sit here today. Like I say, I didn't want for much growing up. But I was certainly under no illusions. I was going to have to work hard for anything I achieve in my life. I've always had a good work ethic. I was reasonably well behaved in school and got my grades good. I always worked hard. I worked hard at the game. I always practiced hard. I was always very ambitious and driven. I always dreamt of having one of these. And this is a pretty special day in my career right now.
Q. You mentioned that you haven't put the trophy down yet. Where do you plan on taking it? What will it mean to the people back home? Does it in any way make up for the fact that Ireland is not in the World Cup?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I haven't put the trophy down so far. I mean I can't believe it, really. I'm not quite sure what the future holds the next couple of days. I think my sponsor is Marquis Jet, so I've got a jet waiting for me tomorrow morning. I was supposed to go to Orlando. I don't know if that's going to be diverted somewhere, perhaps New York or somewhere. I'm not sure what my manager has got lined up for me the next few days, but it should be fun, regardless. And Marquis Jet will lay on the transportation, which is pretty cool.
Does it make up for Ireland not being in the World Cup or Northern Ireland, for that matter. Not really. Obviously, I've been a big football fan. I've been watching the World Cup. It's a nice way to wake up, jet lag, waking up watching football in the morning. But I'm looking forward to taking this trophy back home next week. Like I say, I'm not sure what the next few days hold. It's certainly going to be a slight change of plans. We're looking forward to taking this trophy home to Ireland. I'll be flying into Dublin later in the week, and off to Portrush. There might be a few beverages consumed from this trophy this week. Goodness knows when I'm going to sober up, I can't make any promises there.
Q. Can you go through your birdies and bogeys from today's round? Clubs you hit and yardages if you remember them?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I'll do my best. Fun stuff. Nice solid start, obviously. Fairway, green, 1. Fairway, green, 2. Fairway, green, 3. Fairway, green, 4. Really nice 7-iron on 5. I don't know what the yardage was there, 190 something, just tried to pitch it in the front part of the green, and rolled it on about six feet and made a lovely putt. Fairway, green, 5. Fairway green 6. Green 7. Kind of the end of my birdies, unfortunately. Bogey on 9. In the left sand there. Had a funny little lie. Was trying to hit an 8-iron to the right side of the green and tucked it into the bunker. I hit an okay bunker shot, hit it 15 feet by, that was bogey.
10, a decent drive again, into the sand. Wanted to hit 8-iron, tried to hit a cut 7 in there, didn't execute it well. Had about 175, 180 to the pin, something like that. Obviously had a big hop off the left side of the green over the back. An average lie. It was kind of not a great lie. It was a fast pitch coming down the slope, and blew 20 feet by. And three-putt, bogey. Fairway, green at 11. Good chance at 11. I burned the edge there. Good up and down from 12 on the bunker. I had a great chance on 13. I felt it the first time. I hit a nice 7 in there. To probably about 8 feet. Good putt. Misread it. I felt good, though. Made a good swing there.
Had a good 7-iron to 14, but made the mistake off the tee there. I was trying to fly it over the bunker. I kind of ballooned it a little bit. I hit it good, but I expected to fly the bunker but it didn't fly. Good layup and good 7-iron obviously over the back. And you make a bogey from over the back of that green most days. 15 I hit a really nice second shot. Looking forward to seeing the replay on that. I thought I made the putt. I thought it was in the middle of the hole. Took that walk of death and she missed. Really disciplined fairway green, 16. 17 I was hitting 4-iron. Contemplating hitting a high 3 in there. We really felt the wind was out of the right, not helping a little bit. Felt like a good 4-iron, felt like I struck it solidly. The wind just nailed it. The wind switched back against, I barely even made the front bunker in the end. Tough up and down. I hit an average bunker shot, decent putt. Obviously bogey. 18 I hit a decent drive. Hit it kind of where I was aiming. And I was kind of in between hybrid to go for the green, if need be. If I needed 4 to win, I was certainly going to have a go there. When Gregory didn't make a 4. I laid it up with a 9-iron, and thankfully there were no dramas across the line. So that was it.
Q. This should solidify your spot on the Ryder Cup team, and can you talk about what that means to you, and how well so many of the guys are going to be making the team are playing right now?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I really desperately wanted to be on this Ryder Cup team in October. I realized that it was going to be an unbelievably good team, with so many young, talented players coming through Europe right now. This is going to be a seriously, heavily contested team. I firmly believe we've got the team to win the trophy back. Valhalla a couple of years ago was an amazing experience for me. Disappointed to be in the losing side. I dreamt of being on the winning side and enjoying that experience. And mathematically am I on the team? I haven't looked at the numbers. I should be on the team now. Ryder Cups are very special to me. Major championships and Ryder Cups are certainly things that are going to define my career. And to be part of the team in Wales is something I'm looking forward, really, really looking forward to. I think Colin is going to make a really good captain. He's done a great job so far. I look forward to seeing his text message here, obviously. And looking forward to being there, you know?
Q. Your thoughts on Pebble Beach. Did you watch this in 2000 when Tiger won? And then you've played here in the AT&T. Your thoughts on Pebble, the last ten years, did you ever think that something like this would happen? Did the golf course suit you?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I played three AT&T Championships here. Did I think this golf course suited me? Not really, I suppose. I've always thought U.S. Opens suited me, but I didn't think this was a typical U.S. Open setup, in the view of the fairways -- the rough around the fairways wasn't particularly rough. If you miss fairways you had a chance still. And just with the firm, fast, undulating greens, I'm not the highest ball -- I don't really flight my irons particularly soft, you know. Maybe like Tiger, the way he can control spin coming in with 5- and 6-irons. So from that point of view I didn't think this golf course was all that well set up for me. But I liked it in and around the greens which was important this week. In practice I felt like my short game was good. The rough was very playable. I felt like my technique was good enough to scramble. That was really always going to be the key here. Placing the ball in the fairway wasn't really that difficult to do this week, because you've got 3-woods and hybrids and other clubs off tees. And iron play was going to be at a premium. And my iron play has been solid this year. And chipping and putting was going to be at a premium. From that point of view, obviously, I was able to hang in there and scramble well and give myself a chance to win.
It's beautiful. Pebble Beach is a wonderful golf course. It's one of those special golf courses that, you know, you find yourself pinching yourself when you're standing at that last tee and looking down that fairway. You really do. There's few golf courses that give you that feeling, St. Andrews, Augusta, Pebble, Pine Valley maybe, there's very few golf courses that give you that special feeling, Pebble does that. I don't remember watching much of 2000. My caddie caddied for Thomas Bjorn that year. I think Tiger gave him about 15 shots that day. So it was great to have his kind of experience on the bag, obviously. His knowledge and his experiences from 2000 stood us in good stead this week, as well. I don't remember watching much of -- I'm not sure what I was doing that 2000. Where I was in June 2000. Probably playing an amateur event in Ireland this time, so I didn't watch much of it.
MODERATOR: Thanks for spending time with us this week. Congratulations again.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Thanks very much.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.