GMac expecting driving test

Graeme McDowell hits his tee shot to the par-three third during a practice round at Whistling Straits on MondayGraeme McDowell is expecting a massive driving test on a course he described as being like “Pebble Beach on steroids.”

The US Open champion is bracing himself for a tough week on a 7,500-yard monster that’s been designed to look like an Irish links.

Fearing a wild ride, McDowell said: “You have to drive your ball extremely well around here or you’re in big trouble. It’s as simple as that.

“If you get out of position on this golf course, you’re in a world of pain. There are bunkers that you never even imagined were there and some pretty heavy rough around.

“Put a good crosswind across this golf course and I can imagine four groups being on the 18th tee box waiting for their turn.  There’s some big trouble waiting for you.”

While it looks like a natural links, it took a convoy of bulldozers and 150,000 truckloads of sand to create Whistling Straits.

Struggling to describe the test ahead, McDowell said: “It’s got a bit of Kingsbarns in there, a bit of Ballybunion and Portrush, everything rolled into one.  It’s amazing that this golf course is manmade because it just looks like it’s been there since the beginning of time. 

“It’s a visually stunning golf course but the fairways are not very inviting at all.  You don’t really see much of your target area, so you’ve really got to know your way around.”

McDowell is no L-driver these days following his impressive US Open victory at Pebble Beach in June.

Comparing himself to the player who missed the cut when the US PGA was last played at Whistling Straits in 2004, he said: “I think I was still a deer in the headlights in 2004, only my third major and I really remember very little about it.”