Ryder Cup hero Graeme McDowell would love to follow in the footsteps of his captain Colin Montgomerie and become European No 1 this week.

The US Open champion, 31, needs to finish no worse than third to have any chance of overhauling Race to Dubai leader Martin Kaymer at the season-ending Dubai World Championship.

It will be the Ulsterman’s fifth event on the trot but far from struggling with fatigue he says he is pumped up with adrenaline and determined to give it everything at the Greg Norman designed Earth Course at Jumeriah Estates as he bids to round off a dream year by becoming Race to Dubai champion.

Explaining what’s kept him going despite glob-trotting from Spain to China, Singapore and Hong Kong, he said: “I think it’s just motivation. I have played for four straight weeks and I am not feeling much tired because I am running on adrenaline.

“In June, when I won the US Open, all my dreams came true. It was important to re-set my goals and Ryder Cup became the next big goal – to go there and play well and be part of the winning team.

“Once that was achieved, my new goal was to come to Dubai World Championship with a chance to win the Race to Dubai. I embarked on the five-week schedule with the sole purpose of coming to Dubai with a chance to become Europe’s No 1 player.

“I’d really love to do that. Obviously, Colin has won it eight times, and that is just amazing. I now have that chance and I am feeling very confident. I am playing well at the moment, and I am going to give it my best shot.”

McDowell will begin his 2011 season at PGA Tour’s winners-only Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii before heading to Abu Dhabi to play in The Invitational at the Kyle Phillips designed Yas Links.
The one-day pro-am, which is organised by his sponsors Al Naboodah, will boast an elite, 52-man field and a $500,000 prize fund.

McDowell said: “I haven’t played the course yet, but I have heard some great things about it. Kyle Phillips is obviously highly regarded as a designer and Kingsbarns is a good enough start. To be honest, I am really looking forward to it.

“As far as I can see from my first look, there is no shortage of sand and water. Now all we need is the wind to be up, and if only someone can take care of the heat… I will be right at home.

“Abdulla (Al Naboodah, host of The Invitational) is a much-loved figure in world golf. It will be a pleasure to play his event, which has really become the premier pro-am tournament in the world, here.

“I will be playing in Hawaii, so hopefully, I will be coming here with a bit of rust off. Otherwise, a tournament like The Invitational will be a perfect start for those European Tour players who will be starting their season that week with the Abu Dhabi tournament.

“A competitive round, even though in a relaxed atmosphere of a pro-am, is the best way to get in shape for the desert swing.”