GOLF: GRAEME McDOWELL has a chance to win golf’s richest event this weekend — only weeks after asking himself : “Am I finished?”
The US Open champion reached halfway in the €6.6million Players Championship on eight under par after adding a 69 yesterday to his opening 67.
Two behind early clubhouse leader David Toms, McDowell then spoke about what went through his head during his recent run of three missed cuts in four starts that began with a round of 80 at Bay Hill.
“I just couldn’t piece anything together and you have crazy thoughts,” he said. “Will I ever win again? Will I ever be in contention again? Am I done? Am I finished?
“I don’t think I gave that thought any seriousness, but it flashes through your mind.
“I think everything flashes through my mind. I sacked everyone, rehired them, probably sacked them again.
“It’s just the craziness of this sport — you never really know what’s around the corner.
“That’s why we love this game, it’s why we hate it and it’s why it keeps us coming back for more.
“Sometimes you can be as positive and upbeat as you like, but if you can’t hit it there’s no amount of positive thinking that can get you around the golf course.”
A weekend with coach Pete Cowen has put him back on track and, after closing with a superb birdie at the 18th, McDowell said: “I’ve worked hard on this slightly new version of my swing and it feels good to be going out there and executing shots under pressure and looking forward to being in the mix.”
Former US PGA champion Toms became the man to catch though, when he followed up his first day 66 with a 68 to stand 10 under.
He was two in front of not only McDowell, but also another early finisher, Steve Stricker, who shot a 67.
Meanwhile, Padraig Harrington began his second round last night 11 shots behind Toms and battling a knee injury that he admits has forced him to change his swing.