GRAEME McDOWELL is going to dinner with Pádraig Harrington this week as he needs to talk to him about his lack of focus since winning the US Open.
McDowell is finding it difficult to deal with the fame since becoming the first European in 40 years to win the title.
Yesterday he walked off the Killeen Course having signed for a disappointing level par, 15 shots behind Ross Fisher.
"It is tough to keep my focus. I mentioned it to Pádraig and he said ‘welcome to my world’. I told him I am struggling with it all a little bit so we are going to have a conversation over dinner. You dream of achieving these things but dealing with them is another. It is a good problem to have, but I didn’t want to come to Killarney and not compete.
"I don’t have a hangover from partying too much. It is just mental energy drain. I’m trying hard to get back to my normal self. I felt good this week but it was frustrating. The signs are good, my game is in good shape, but the effect of the win has lingered. Everyone reminds you of it all the time. This one has been much, much more difficult to deal with. The level and intensity of winning makes your weeks busier, just makes everything else more difficult. I’m still trying to learn to deal with that."
He already has entered the history books, but he failed to leave his mark on this Kerry course.
"I played good enough to shoot low numbers but I couldn’t make any putts. My golf today was similar to yesterday. I struggled on the greens big time. I hit the ball pretty good but did not seem to read the surfaces very well. I made very few birdies, anytime I made a mistake it was tough to scramble. I got no momentum going and that has a way of filtering through your game.
"I am just disappointed it had to be here. I feel my game was ticking over, but the greens had me foxed."
This week he returns to the States. "I am really looking forward to that. It will be my first time going as US Open champion and that is going to be really cool. Firestone next week is a great warm-up for the US PGA, which is a very links-style course.
"Mentally I am on my way back. It has been a lot more difficult than I imagined. My schedule couldn’t have been more difficult either with Loch Lomond, the British Open and here.
"They were three of the toughest events of the year from the point of view of focus and attention. I’m carrying the US Open into these events.
"Every week I am feeling better and better and this week I am feeling fresher. I’m looking forward to getting to the US, it should not be quite as full on. I should be able to go about my own business a little bit better.
"I’ve enjoyed the periphery stuff. The commotion should be over by the time I get back. There will be a new US PGA champion – maybe it will be me and we’ll start all over again."