Ryder Cup fever is kicking in for Graeme McDowell 320 days before Europe defends the trophy in Chicago.
The hero of the 2010 matches at Celtic Manor is determined to win his third cap and do battle for skipper Jose Maria Olazabal at Medinah.
And after missing out on a place in the 2006 side at The K Club after a failed attempt to play on both sides of the Atlantic, he’s being very careful about setting out his 2012 schedule.
Currently 13th in the Race to Dubai, McDowell admits his movements between the US and European tours next year will be influenced by his performances over the closing weeks of the season.
“I am not 100 per cent committed to anything yet. I am going to see how these next four or five weeks go,” he said before the Barclays Singapore Open. “If I can have a strong finish this year then I can play a little less next year. I will play both Tours next year.”
The 32-year old Ulsterman has made a positive start to the European Ryder Cup qualifying campaign, which will see the top five from the European Points List joined by the top five from a world ranking points list and two wildcards.
With players such as Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy also set to play most of their golf on the PGA Tour next year, McDowell needs to make sure he gives himself the best possible chance of qualifying through both lists and will be setting out his schedule with extreme care.
The 2011 season has been disappointing for him so far though he knows he can turn it into a good one with a strong finish to the year. He heads from Singapore to Japan for the Dunlop Phoenix before following a World Cup appearance with McIlroy in China with a trip to Sun City for the Nedbank Golf Challenge and the season-ending Dubai World Championship.
After coming third behind Michael Hoey and McIlroy in the Alfred Dunhill Links and then matching that performance by coming third in the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai last week - his best World Golf Championship finish - McDowell is now fifth on the European Points List.
Padraig Harrington, who failed to qualify for the WGC in Shanghai, is also concerned about the 2012 Ryder Cup campaign. But unlike world No 14 McDowell, the 79th ranked Dubliner knows he could struggle to make it if he does not start performing soon.
As things stand, he will not qualify for the WGC-Accenture Match Play in February where the top 64 available players will tee it up. He’s also struggling to qualify for the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral.
“I am mindful that if I don’t get into the world events it is very difficult for me to get into the Ryder Cup,” Harrington said.