McGinley searches for form

Paul McGinley is battling to rescue his game from the deep freeze - by practising in the snow.

The Dubliner has made a nightmare start to 2009, following some poor play in the Royal Trophy with his worst performance on the European Tour's desert swing for 17 years.

Ranked 120th in the world, McGinley was 67th in the Abu Dhabi Championship, where he limped home 20 shots behind winner Paul Casey.

He then headed to Qatar but missed the level par cut by four strokes and then failed to make the weekend in Dubai by a single shot.

Set to return to action alongside Dermot Desmond in next week's Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, the three-time Ryder Cup player was full of apologies when he updated his website for the first time nearly eight weeks.

First of all Happy New Year to everyone. Sorry it's a bit late but I've been busy practising. I have returned from the Middle East after a very disappointing time on the golf course, where after a lowly finishing position in Abu Dhabi, I missed the cut in Qatar and Dubai (the first time in 17 years).

"The bottom line is I didn't play very well and have a lot of work to do on my game to turn things around which I am vigorously doing at the moment in the snow in the UK!!

"I return to competitive golf at Pebble Beach next week, the AT&T Pro Am, where I am playing with Dermot Desmond, a tournament I have always really enjoyed and where I have had success in the past.

"My work rate and practice will continue to be accelerated in search of my form which I really feel is not a million miles away.

McGinley's lack of power off the tee - 151st and 143rd for driving distance in 2007 and 2008 - is putting severe pressure on the rest of his game.

Normally one of the most accurate iron players, he is ranked 135th for greens hit in regulation after four events so far this term.

Needless to say, his sometimes fragile putting stroke has not stood up well and he's 107th for putts per green in regulation.