In an exclusive pre-US Masters 2009 interview, Graeme McDowell told www.ballantineschampionship.com all about his US Masters memories, his love for Augusta National Golf Club and all about how he is preparing for the golf event.

Excerpts taken from the Graeme McDowell blog. Read the full blog at www.ballantineschampionship.com.

“It is the Masters next week, and I got an early taste of the course when my Dad and I went up to Augusta two Sundays ago, thanks to a friend of mine called Ian Webb, who is my partner in the Dunhill Links and a member of Augusta. We had dinner in the clubhouse, a glass of vino, and we stayed in one of the lodges right on the par-three course.

It was pretty special to take my Dad up there and play 27 holes. He even played Amen Corner in level par so he was pretty happy about life at that point! It was a lot of fun.

My caddie and I are heading up to Augusta to play two rounds this week. After that I won’t turn up for the tournament until the Monday night, because major championships are quite demanding from the point of view there are always a lot of people around and there is a lot of media attention, so sometimes it is a case of the less time you spend on site prior to the tournament the better. I will get some of my homework done up there this week, and that will take a little bit of the pressure off for next week.

One of the reasons we are heading up there early is to spend a bit of extra time around the greens, and perhaps try some of those difficult shots that you might not want to try when there are 30,000 people standing there looking at you. This place can make you look stupid if you hit the ball to the wrong places! There is certainly a lot to the golf course and it takes a bit of getting to know.

All golfers grow up dreaming of playing in the US Masters. I particularly remember watching the 1996 US Masters as a teenager, when Nick Faldo beat Greg Norman. Norman looked as though he was going to run away with it and break his Masters duck, before Faldo won it in the final round. That is one of those rounds of golf that you remember where you were when you saw it. It was amazing.

After the US Masters I will come back to Orlando for four or five days to get myself sorted out before I make the trip to Jeju island for the Ballantine’s Championship, and I am really looking forward to going back. I will just have to stay away from the sponsor’s product until the Sunday night if possible!”

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