Graeme McDowell (Flash)
Score 69, 1‑under.
Q. Let's start with the finish then. Great finish.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah good finish, you've always got a chance to finish this golf course well, I guess. 16's a chance if you can find the fairway twice, and I actually had four great looks at birdie coming in there. I had it 8 feet on 15, had it probably 12 feet on 16, missed those both. They be a great up‑and‑down from the front trap on 17.
Managed to cozy it in there about 15 feet on the last and probably made one of my longest putts of the day, but not very happy the way generally I played today. I hit it in a lot of fairways, and I hit it on a lot of greens and controlled things pretty well.
Q. Draw upon the fact that you've been able to be crowned champion on a USGA setup when you're out there on a really difficult track like that to know that, you know, I've done this before.
GRAEME McDOWELL: I've always enjoyed the U.S. Open, even before I won Pebble I always enjoyed the U.S. Open setups. And if you would have asked me before I won Pebble where did I fancy my chances, which Majors did I like the best that I probably would have always said to you the U.S. Open and the British Open. Those are the two that I would always choose.
I've always enjoyed the setups. It really rewards placement off the tee, just hanging tough, staying patient, placing your iron shots, chipping, putting, really it's golf's toughest test. And they set the course up really ‑‑ it's unique the golf course this year, there's no doubt about it. It asks you to hit very perspective shots.
There's not often you play a golf course like this and there aren't really many options, you just got to stand there and hit certain shots at the right times and some pins out there today you could go at and some pins that you couldn't go at. The greens are just rock hard. You really got to respect the first bounce on these greens. And there's just places on these greens you just can't miss the ball.
You've got to play very kind of workman‑like golf at times and I watched a bit of the coverage this morning and I saw the way Tiger kind of played this golf course, and he played it very I think workman‑like would be the way I would describe his round. He just did what this golf course asks you to do, and it asks you to place it in the fairway, if the pin's in the front it tells you to hit it in the middle of the green and you can't really go firing at too many pins and you just got play very disciplined golf and I did that well today.
Q. Talking to like yesterday and he was saying this is a course that you just really got to be dead on. You got to be dead on accurate and he said that today he wasn't he finished nine over par or something like that. Considering the perils that exist out there, how happy are you to have this first round?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It's a nice start. And you want to get a little bit of momentum early this week if you can because if you let this golf course beat you up early in the week it will just continue to do that. You can't really kind of start firing at pins out there. You've just got to plod your way around. And you've really got to just ‑‑ my goal going out there today was that if I got in trouble just to take my medicine, get out of dodge with bogey if I can and I did that fairly well today. And I placed my irons, I really hit a lot of solid shots where they came off the bat the way I expected them to. I drove the ball well which is a huge key on this golf course. If you can put it in the fairway, you you hit great drives here and they still in the semi. If you can end up in the fairways or the semi, you have a chance. The rough, the interesting thing about this golf course is the rough gives you half a chance and then you have at the green and then you get in all sorts of trouble then at that point and that's when the troubles begin. So when you hit it out of position you've really got to be disciplined and leave the ball in the correct place.
Q. Is it even more testing in that respect than Pebble was?
GRAEME McDOWELL: In many ways it's very like Pebble coming into the greens. Because you're taking a lot of front edge yardages on, which I did at Pebble and you're playing trying to place the ball below the hole. It's a little bit more one dimensional than Pebble. Pebble asks you to hit various shots and do various things to the golf ball. This course just you got to fade it. And that's kind of the bottom line really you got to be able to hit cuts all day, all day cuts. There might be three or four draw shots out there, but it's one dimensional from my point of is view.
But it's a grind out there. You've just got to hang tough and that's kind of step one of four for me. But there's a lot of golf left out there and I just got to keep grinding, really.
Q. Do you think you got the most out of this round today about as good as you could have expected for a first round?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I did. I felt like I squeezed as much as I could out of that round. Always nice to birdie the last two holes, of course, but couple of good par saves on 8 right here and I made a good par save on 6 also. I think it was 6. These holes kind of just ‑‑ it's weird, this golf course, you play six holes and you felt like you've played 10. But it's a tough test out there. But, yeah, just I hung in well with the putter. It's funny, I left a few birdie chances out there, on 15, 16, but a couple of key par saves. So no, I'll take my 1‑under and run.
Q. The opposite really of the last month in terms of scoring because you haven't been getting much out of it.
GRAEME McDOWELL: You could say that, I suppose. I've been hitting the ball pretty quell well and not scoring well and today it was today was a lot more disciplined golf and a lot more focused golf and probably the best tee to green I've hit it in a few months. It was good.
GRAEME McDOWELL: My caddie said if you can't draw some confidence out of this round today, there's something wrong with you. So I think I know what he was getting at. Take the positives and try to feed that back into the game again. So that was good today.
Q. Rory ran away from the tournament at Congressional, 7‑over today. Is he a guy that can come back from that and how tough is this course versus last year?
GRAEME McDOWELL: 7‑over's a big hole for any player. Rory McIlroy's a pretty good player though, so if anybody can come back from it, he can. But this golf course doesn't really offer up many 64s. Fair play to anyone who goes out and does that. 4‑under par from Michael Thompson today is a pretty impressive effort. There's only a few guys under par apart from that and there really isn't too many 64s out there.
But obviously Rory he'll be coming out with guns blazing tomorrow trying to get himself back in the mix. But it was tricky out there. There's a fine line on this golf course between sort of 68 and 78 really. There really is. It's fine lines. And the key, one of the big keys this week is to get off to a nice start and don't let the place beat you up too early.