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Graemeís Second Tastes Better Than The First

Graeme McDowell 

What happened to the cheese you won last week in Italy?
Thankfully they are mailing it. I think 78kgs would have been a bit much for BA luggage. Bit of a novel prize. Half of is being mailed to Ireland and the other half to Cardiff where I am living at the moment. I will have the family kitted out in cheese for the next couple of years.

How do you feel after your victory having had a day to reflect on it?
Pretty good about it. I have been playing great for a couple of months. I just needed the right golf course set up where my driving the ball would help me to get in a position to win a tournament. It was great to get across the finish line eventually. Five days, 54 holes was very frustrating especially Sunday evening when we were called off. I was playing so well I just wanted to finish it off but it was great to eventually come through.

When I won in Sweden I was coming off the back of some really good amateur golf. I got in the lead and didnít really know what else to do but go ahead and win. The last couple of years have been difficult. I made a lot of changes to the people around me. I have changed the team around me and have been working very hard and itís nice to have some success off the back of some hard work.

I had a lesson with Butch (Harmon) in December and worked with Claude in Florida about six weeks ago. It has been a major influence in my golf swing. I have been making some pretty big changes. Starting to feel it coming into the slot. Claude is based in Edinburgh and he will travel a bit in Europe. In my weeks off he will be easy to get to and hopefully it will be a relationship that works very well.

What swing changes?
Just backswing changes. my initial take away and trying to make it a lot less steep. Rounding it out, making it a little flatter and stop the re-routing on the way down. Try to make it more consistent.

Try to make it more conventional?
That is one way of putting it. I have always had a little bit of my own special move in there and I am trying to make it a little less noticeable and more consistent and as you say, more conventional. Anything that works.

You seemed to be reluctant to talk about Ryder Cup?
I think I have to win before I think about Ryder Cup. It is one of these things that takes care of itself. I am not going to be filling my head with ideas like that right at this stage of the season. We have some great events coming up and I just want to try and continue the way I am playing. If I won again I might talk a bit more about it. Not something I am too worried about at the moment.

Have you spoken to Claude since the win?
I have. He is here this week so I will see him this afternoon. He was pretty pumped up. I have so many positive people around me right now. My management company, family and friends, everyone has been so full of positives the last couple of months because they knew how well I was playing and it was just a matter of months.

How would you characterise your mood now compared to last year?
Much more positive. I was looking back at how I was playing last year at this event and it was a bit of a blur. I wasnít playing well. But now I am on a high. I am playing better now than I have ever played. I am a much more experienced player. I am enjoying the tour much more; being in contention is what itís all about. It is easy to enjoy it when things are going well. It can be very frustrating when it is not where you want it to be. This year has been much more fun.

Did Butch identify immediately what needed to be done?
We talked about it and my move is my move and I am never really going to get away from that but he was very good in that he managed to incorporate some swing changes into that which over a period of time will make the move a little more obvious. Make the downswing more like the backswing. I have been able to play pretty well while making the changes. we didnít want to go for a major overhaul, especially at the start of the year. That was one of the reasons we went to Butch as we knew he wouldnít take my swing apart. I was still going to be able to play and that has been a major part.

Did the win in Sweden come too early?
It didnít come too early as it gave me too years of a cushion to learn how to play professional golf and this year has been the first year I have come out and felt like a proper professional and felt like I can win any tournament I tee up in. I didnít know what do to from the win. I hadnít been out here long enough to understand it is a long, long season and one win doesnít make you a seasoned professional. I have worked hard and had to learn how to cope with week in week out on tour. You have to be fit and have to be comfortable travelling, learn the courses and which courses suit you. There is a lot more to it than I thought.

Have you re-set your goals?
No because I havenít achieved anything too fast. Winning was on my six month plan. I set that in November so hit that on the nose. Where I go from here is more of the same. I am playing well enough where I am certainly not going to be resting on my laurels with some great events coming up.

Are there courses around you prefer to duck out of?
I am not one to back out of a challenge. It is easy to say one course suits you and one course doesnít. Learning to adapt to every type of course is something I need to do. I do prefer courses with tight fairways and heavy rough which rewards the way I drive the ball. Last week did that. I like good greens where I can get the putter hot. This course looks like this so you never know.

I do prefer American layouts with the heavy rough and target type greens and really true and fast greens. I became very Americanised in the few years I spent out there. Growing up on the windy links courses, I would take the sun and shorts of America any time now to be honest.


Written by Martin Hardy of ISM Limited 

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