McDowell to push on

By Brian Keogh

Graeme McDowell has become a lean, mean, driving machine.

And while things can't get much better according to his coach, McDowell's convinced he can push on and become a prolific European Tour winner.

Set to tee it up in the €5 million WGC-CA Championship in Miami tomorrow, McDowell said: "I've arrived here as a three‑time winner on The European Tour and I want to keep getting better.

"I feel ready to be a prolific winner. I feel like I can win multiple times this year no problem and feel like I'm playing well enough. I've got the confidence and I've got the momentum going now."

English swing guru Clive Tucker has helped McDowell shake off his unhappy hooker tag with 16-months of intensive practice.

Now their goal is to make sure the ball continues to soar straight towards Kentucky and a place on Nick Faldo's European Ryder Cup side.

Delighted for McDowell following his play-off win in Korea, Tucker said: "After shooting 24-under par, how much better can you get?

"You just have to get use to doing what you are doing and Graeme is playing world class golf. What we need to do now is keep his game where it is and make him more consistent."

McDowell's game was in a sorry state when he turned to Tucker at the end of a disastrous 2006 campaign.

His putting was poor and he had a nasty hook going with his driver.

But now he's longer, straighter and more confident than ever and feel ready to compete on any course in the world.

McDowell said: "My confidence is better. My length is back. I was quite a long driver of the golf ball when I was in college and early on in my career.

"Two, three years into my professional career, I was driving it worse than I ever drove it in my life. Maybe the new technology didn't suit my game or didn't suit my swing.

"But I've found a driver right now which is obviously perfect for me. It's the Callaway FT‑3 driver. Just the launch characteristics give me the opportunity to get my distance out there.

"I'm probably 15 to 20 yards longer than I was - back to the good side of the middle of the pack.

"Some of these guys are insanely long but I feel like I'm hitting it long enough to compete on any golf course."

McDowell confessed that it took him a while to adjust from top amateur golf to the weekly grind of the professional game.

But he's learnt from his mistakes and now feels ready to kick on and become a consistent title contender.

He said: "When you turn professional, all of a sudden you go from playing 15 to 18 events a year competitively to playing 30 to 35. It's a massive jump.

"It's tough to play well every week. It takes a lot of learning and understanding how to pace yourself during a season, how to not have peaks and troughs.

"I've probably had more peaks and troughs in my six‑year‑old career than most. It's been a big learning curve for me I have to say.

"But I feel like I'm a smart enough guy where I do learn and I try to learn from my mistakes and I have made plenty.

"It feels pretty pleasant to be sitting here as a winner again. It's been too long."

A top finish at Doral's Blue Monster would earn McDowell a last gasp place in the Masters at Augusta.

But he knows that after three weeks in Asia and a 17-hour flight from Seoul to Orlando, he can't expect too much.

He said: "Augusta's my favourite tournament on the planet, it's unbelievable, and I would be excited to get in there.

"But if I don't get into Augusta, it's not going to be the end of the world.

"If Augusta happens, it happens, but I certainly don't have my heart set on it at this point. Obviously Ryder Cup is my goal."