Graeme McDowell knows he must halt the “panic” and show the patience of Tiger Woods if he is to fight his way out of his mini slump.
The US Open champion, 31, has missed three of his last four cuts as his tremendous 2010 finally catches up with him. But he’s confident that he’s turned the corner and can make some positive moves when he begins a gruelling run of six events in seven weeks at The Players today.
“There has been a little panic in my game for sure over the past six weeks. I needed to sort my head out and get a few issues sorted out,” McDowell said. “But I had a great weekend with my coach Pete Cowen and I feel like a light switch has gone on.”
McDowell started last season in similar fashion and he sees no reason why he can’t have another stellar year and even become world No 1.
Looking back at the last two months, the Ulsterman said: “It’s been a period of reflection and trying to work out where I go from here a little bit and just trying to re-prioritise and get my game back in shape again.
“I look at this point in my season, this time last year I hadn’t done much, either. At this point I’ve probably achieved more this season than I had in 2010.”
Tiger Woods hasn’t won for 19 months and slumped from the untouchable world No 1 to No 8 this week. But while McDowell is backing Tiger to get back to winning ways, he’s ready to take advantage and fight to become golf’s top dog.
On Tiger’s slide, he said: “If you had told me that three years ago, I would have said you’re crazy. But I know he’s very driven to beat Jack’s record, and it’s only a matter of time. He will find his game, and he will find his feet, and he will win again, and he’ll win many times again I would imagine.
“It’s tough to get your head around what he’s going through, but that’s the game of golf we play. I think he’s been very patient considering what I’m sure he expects of himself. So I think he’s a very determined man right now.”
McDowell credits Padraig Harrington and his three major wins as the key to the current European boom. And while Woods searches for his game, he believes he can battle with McIlroy, Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald to succeed Lee Westwood as world No 1.
He said: “It’s something that hasn’t been very achievable so far in my golf career with the Tiger Woods era. But I think things have changed. My highest ranking so far is No 4 and I’m currently No 5 in the world.
“And I realize if I can even get to 75 percent of the form I had this time last year over the summer, it’s certainly an achievable goal for me.”