Graeme McDowell has secured a Blue Monster lifeline with a late invite for next week’s Honda Classic in Florida.
The Ulsterman, 30 slipped two spots to 49th in the world when he was outgunned by a red-hot Luke Donald in the first round of the WGC-Accenuture Match Play in Tucson.
Only the top 50 will tee it up in the WGC - CA Championship at Doral’s famed Blue Monster from March 11-14 and while McDowell was initially prepared to leave things to fate, he has taken steps to ensure he will be present for the second World Golf Championship of the season.
The first cut off for qualification comes on Monday, when the top 50 in the world will be pencilled in for a trip to Miami. That means that McDowell could well find himself out in the cold. But his Honda invitation means he will have a chance to make it for the second cut off date on March 8.
Initially, McDowell said that he was happy not to chase an invitation for this week’s Waste Management Open in Phoenix.
“If I get into Doral, well and good,” he said. “If I don’t, we just got to keep plugging away.”
He’s obviously had second thoughts. The Honda will be a big week for the Irish with McDowell joined world No 9 Rory McIlroy and No 10 Padraig Harrington in Palm Beach Gardens.
McIlroy confirmed on his blog this week that he will work with mental coach Dr Bob Rotella for the first time when he plays a nine hole practice round at the PGA National Champion Course on Monday.
McIlroy said: “Bob Rotella is going to be walking round with me, have a bit of a chat and see how things go from there. It’s not that I think anything is wrong with me or my game - I just think that he can help me in some way and it’s definitely not going to hurt in any way.
“I feel as if my putting can get better and I think he can point me in the right direction with pre-shot routine and how to think leading up to hitting the putt and stuff like that.
“I’ve read all of his books over the years and find what he says really interesting and appealing. I think this could make a couple of shots difference in tournaments and hopefully turn my top threes and top fives into wins then it will be a very worthwhile exercise.
“This is about getting experience and thinking about things at the right time - not hitting it longer or anything like that.”