US Open champion Graeme McDowell admits he is rusty after a month-long break but hopes to tune up for next month’s Ryder Cup with a good performance this week.
The Northern Irishman tees off in the Austrian Open in Atzenbrugg tomorrow - his only competitive event before appearing at Celtic Manor.
McDowell accepts his game may not be in top shape but his mind is refreshed, having had to get used to the demands placed on a major winner after his victory at Pebble Beach nearly three months ago.
“Since the USPGA Championship I’ve had four weeks’ rest after a very busy spring and summer,” McDowell said.
“I needed some rest and time away from the game but now I need to play some competitive golf before the Ryder Cup to sharpen up and get back into the groove of competition.
“I’ve averaged about 30 minutes of practice each day – the last month has been about getting my head refreshed.
“From now until the end of the season I will be working very hard so it was important to recharge my batteries.”
The 31-year-old told his personal website graememcdowell.com: “Although I have not played competitively since Whistling Straits over four weeks ago, I am hoping I will be sharp enough to compete here this week.
“Obviously my game will be rusty, but like every tournament I enter, I am here to win.
“After this week, my next sample of competitive golf will be standing on the first tee at Celtic Manor at the Ryder Cup, so I am hoping that four decent rounds here will have me in good shape come of October 1.”
McDowell has been overtaken as leader of the Race to Dubai, which will determine Europe’s number one golfer, by Martin Kaymer after he won the USPGA.
The German’s win at the KLM Open last week extended his advantage at the top to €498,483 and even victory for McDowell at the Diamond Country Club this week would only make a dent of €125,000.
Fellow Ryder Cup team-mate Miguel Angel Jimenez is also in the field in Austria as he goes looking for his fourth victory of the season having already won in Dubai, France and Switzerland.