The Graeme McDowell of four years ago would dearly love to challenge the Graeme McDowell of 2014 to a round of tournament golf.
This was the scenario McDowell pondered on the eve of the season-ending European Tour DP World Tour Championship that will see the curtain come down on his 13th consecutive season as a pro. McDowell is currently 11th on the Race to Dubai money list and down seven places on his 2013 season finish, whereas he’s nine spots lower than in 2010 when he captured a first Major.
“I’d would love to go back to the 2010 version of me and see what I spoke like and what I chipped it like, what I putted like and how I drove the ball, because I feel I am a better player. It would be interesting to play that guy and see what I thought of him. Play the guy who is a bit younger, and a bit better looking (smiling).”
In 2010, McDowell was top of the world having ended a 40-year European Tour drought in lifting the US Open trophy along the shores of the Pacific. Since then, he has gone from one of the Tour’s up-and-coming stars to one of the cornerstones of the European Tour, as illustrated by his role at this year’s Ryder Cup.
“The last Ryder Cup gave me a huge amount of belief after an 18-month period where, maybe, I was beginning to start to doubt myself, and getting obsessed by the long hitters in the game. I was getting away from what I do well, like wedge play and putting. So, the Ryder Cup instilled the belief again. It was the realisation that I needed to get back to doing what I do, not what Rory McIlroy does, or Dustin Johnson does or Brooks Koepka. I needed to play my way.”
After the disappointment of ‘not closing out the deal’ a fortnight ago in Shanghai, McDowell has returned refreshed after spending last week with his wife and young daughter.
However, there is the realisation that he hasn’t finished in the top-10 in five appearances on this week’s Earth Course.
“Shanghai didn’t hurt me, because I didn’t play and you can’t expect to win when you have not got at least you’re ‘A’ game, so yes I was disappointed in not closing the deal, and when level par would have me in a play-off, but I just didn’t play well and I couldn’t be angry,” he said.
“I’ve got three events left this year, including Tiger’s event, and then I’m teaming with Gary Woodland to play the Shark Shoot-out, but this is the last real big one for me [and] it’s all duck or no dinner. Simple as.”
World No 1 Rory McIlroy wound up his preparations at the nearby Els Clubs. Also in the field is Shane Lowry, still chasing that elusive top-50 ranking.
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