McDowell aims to finish on a high

GRAEME McDOWELL is targeting a successful end to the season to ease his workload for 2012 as the Irishman bids for his first European Tour title of the year at the Singapore Open.

McDowell, who finished third last week at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai, is set to play both the European and PGA Tours next year and is eager to boost his ranking over the upcoming Asian tournaments, starting at Sentosa Golf Club tomorrow, to ensure a less hectic schedule next year.

“I am not 100% committed to anything yet. I am going to see how these next four or five weeks go,” the 32-year-old said.

“If I can have a strong finish this year then I can play a little less next year. I will play both Tours next year.”

McDowell strung together four rounds under par at the WGC event last week to finish third on 16 under par and equal his best result on the European Tour this year.

The world number 14 ended four shots adrift of winner Martin Kaymer in Shanghai and was heartened by his performance in China following a torrid time at the Andalucia Masters the week before.

“I worked hard last week to the point where I am now moving the ball very well both ways,” he added.

“Unless you have a ball flight you can control you cannot really play this game very well. I was happy the way I hit the ball last week and I putted much, much better. I am coming in here with a little bit of confidence and this is a golf course where you certainly have to control your ball flight. And with these big undulating greens you need to putt well.”

McDowell, though, will have to resist challenges from, among others, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Francesco Molinari, Pádraig Harrington and Ernie Els over both the Tanjong and Serapong courses.

Meanwhile former world number one Tiger Woods is confident he can once again dominate the sport in which he was almost untouchable for more than a decade.

The American won 14 majors in an 11-year-period from 1997 but has not added to that total since his last victory at the US Open in June 2008, when his injury problems began.

Since then he has also had to deal with lurid revelations about his private life, gone through a divorce and had a number of other fitness-related issues.

He has returned to the country where he registered his last tournament victory of any kind two years ago (at the JWB Masters in Melbourne) and tees off in the Australian Open in Sydney tomorrow fully believing he can return to the pinnacle of golf.

Asked whether he can dominate again Woods, 36 next month, replied: “Absolutely.

“I know that Vijay (Singh) was like that well into his 40s. I think he’s won more tournaments than anybody in the history of our sport in their 40s — I’m not there yet, by the way!

“So I’ll have nothing but positive gains next year. By playing well, by winning golf tournaments I’ll climb the world rankings.”

Woods tees off tomorrow with Australian’s Jason Day and Robert Allenby.

In the group immediately ahead of him will be another Australian Adam Scott, who starts as joint favourite with Woods.

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