Graeme McDowell is patiently waiting for his midas touch to return as he targets Open glory at Sandwich this week.
The Ulster ace, 31, was Mr Golf last season as he won the US Open and the Ryder Cup and then downed Tiger Woods in his own back yard. But he’s been dogged by disaster this term and racked up big numbers at exactly the wrong time.
Hoping his luck changes soon, McDowell said: “It’s just one of those things. Everything I touched last year turned to gold but this year it hasn’t happened so far. The game has just kicked me a few times.
“I think it is just a cycle of the game and I am definitely not over-analysing it. I am just trying to stay in the present, keep grinding and keep working and keep believing and be patient.”
McDowell shot an 80 in the first round at Bay Hill and an 81 when leading the Wales Open in May.
He then blew his chances of winning the Scottish Open on Sunday when he followed a second round 64 with a 74 that featured a quadruple bogey nine on the 12th.
“I had a good week in Scotland but two two bad swings on Sunday just killed me,” he said. “I hit a bad tee shot on 12 and followed it up with a bad provisional and that was my week over.”
While two bad swings cost him in Scotland, he feels that his putting has been letting him down this season.
He said: “My putting is not where I want it to be right now. I am just not putting well enough at the moment. It’s a different type of putting here. In links golf you have got to lag putt well and hole out well. You’ve always got to hole out well.”
Delighted to hear he’d been drawn with Bubba Watson and Jason Day with a late start on Thursday, he said: “That’s a beautiful thing. It’s a great draw with two great players.”
Padraig Harrington will partner Matt Kuchar and Amateur champion Bryden Macpherson and like McDowell he’s looking to improve his putting.
Tied 14th in Scotland, Harrington said: “I would like to have done a few things better and hopefully I can do them well this week. A few more putts could have gone in? That’s exactly it but that’s always the case when you are not the winner. When you are not the winner you have holed enough of them, if you haven’t won you haven’t holed them.”
As he headed to the putting green to work with his mental coach Dr Bob Rotella, he said: “I’m in a reasonable place [mentally] but it could be better.”
As for the course, Harrington said: “I played it two weeks ago and it’s a nice test of golf. It is very linksy and tricky. Quirky. It is traditional and that’s the way it is. It’s got it all going for it. We’ll just have to wait and see. The golf course is all there so we just have to manage ourselves and see if we can get our game on form.”
Darren Clarke will go out with American jonathan Byrd and former US PGA champion YE Yang hoping for better luck that he had in the final round of the Scottish Open.
The Ulsterman followed round sof 69 an 67 with a 75 to come home tied for 66th at Castle Stuart.
He said: “I played lovely for two days but Sunday was very disappointing. I’ll be looking for more of the stuff I played over the first two days.”