McDowell refocusses for US Open build up

Graeme McDowell won’t be driven to distraction by outside influences as he counts down to his US Open defence.

Huge media and corporate commitments have taken McDowell’s eye off the ball somewhat in recent weeks, leading to less than ideal preparation and missed cuts in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Masters.

But the Portrush ace says he’s ready to roar again, insisting: “I think I have got a tiny but frustrated this year just because of the off course life distracting me a little bit. But I think I have turned the corner.

“The key for me is making sure I get on the first tee on Thursday 100 percent prepared. I am that kind of guy.

“If I feel I am 100 percent prepared on Thursday morning I will have no regrets for the rest of that week. I’ll be able to go out on the golf course and do my thing and feel good about what I am doing, whether it goes right or wheter it goes wrong.”

McDowell realised he was heading down the wrong road when he opened with a nightmare 80 at Bay Hill last month following a busier than normal pre-tournament workload off the course.

He hasn’t broken 70 in the six rounds he’s played since he closed with a 64 to finish sixth in the Honda Classic . But he feels good about his chances in The Heritage at Harbour Town where he is drawn with pal Ian Poulter and three-time major winner Ernie Els.

The South Carolina event is the first of six he’ll play over the next eight weeks before his US defence at Congressional near Washington.

It’s been a whirlwind year for McDowell and while he’s been massively busy off the course, he says he’s learned some lessons and feels ready to concentrate on his golf again.

He said: “There have been a couple of instances this year, Bay Hill was probably one of them, where I was running around Tuesday and Wednesday, doing too many things off the golf course.

“I got on the first tee on Thursday and I didn’t feel ready. That’s the kind of stuff that I can’t accept. My preparation is key and a light bulb went on for me at Bay Hill.

“I had to get back to focussing on the important things. I am still a golfer and I still want to win golf tournaments. That has to be the priority.”