Twelve months ago Graeme McDowell tossed a quote around in his head again and again.
He was still going over it in his mind at the Honda Classic in March, scene of his most recent top-10 finish in strokeplay event.
“I remember reading Michael Campbell’s quote when he said that no one actually ever tells you how to get back down from the peak of Everest when you have climbed to the summit,” McDowell said when asked how he’d deal with being a major winner.
“A lot of people die on the way back down. I remember that kind of hitting home.”
No-one wants to be classed as a one-hit wonder but McDowell, who has slipped from sixth to 13th in the world since the end of last season, has undoubtedly struggled to come to terms with his own high expectations since his US Open victory and subsequent heroics.
The season has been a write-off as far as the majors go with missed cuts in the Masters, the Open and the US PGA only interrupted by a share of 14th place behind Rory McIlroy in the US Open.
The 32-year old Portrush man knew the pitfalls but couldn’t avoid them and now enters the FedEx Cup play-offs at The Barclays this week hoping to salvage something from the year before deciding whether or not to retain membership of the PGA Tour ahead of the forthcoming Ryder Cup campaign.
“It’s tough,” McDowell said at the Honda. “Obviously there’s expectation level that I create for myself and of course the world around me creates the expectation but it’s the one inside me that can be the danger when I go out there every day trying to prove something to myself or prove something to everyone else around me.”
McDowell hasn’t been undone by his end of year equipment change but his short winter break, his own high expectations and a loss of form with the putter.
He complained after the US PGA that he drove the ball poorly and having explored his mental game and putting, he intended to go back to the drawing board with his game.
Those were the words of a very disappointed man and he was closer to the truth when he said: “I have got to stay patient and stay in it and keep working hard and there will be light at the end of the tunnel soon.”
With a couple of days to reflect on his disappointing performance at Atlanta Athletic Club, he said: “Once I get things going again, and I know I will, I can get properly stuck in again for the rest of the season.”
Putting more pressure on himself will not lead to good results any time soon and but he might glean some perspective from a special event he’s hosting in New York City tonight.
The Ulsterman will be joined by PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem at Rosie O’Grady’s on 7th Avenue for the launch of The G-Mac Foundation which will help support children’s medical research among other worthy causes.
A class act off the course, McDowell will soon realise that he’s always been a class act on it.
The G-Mac Foundation’s mission is to support children’s medical research in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the United States.
Working in conjunction with the leaders in children’s medical research and the main children’s hospitals in Dublin and Belfast, the Foundation will raise funds for much needed research in the area of children’s medicine.
In addition the Foundation will endeavour to bring a group of children from both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to Florida for the holiday of a lifetime. Graeme has also been a long term supporter of Multiple Sclerosis charities, a cause that has been and always will remain a priority in his charitable work.
“Charity is something I’ve always wanted to be involved in,” said McDowell, “and I’ve often had the chance to represent my chosen charities in some of the fun events we play during the year - such as the Tavistock Cup in Florida for example. I’m delighted to now have my own G-Mac Foundation to channel any funds I raise from events like this, and from other events such as the launch in Manhattan, to support my charities of choice.
“There are so many good, deserving causes out there, but I think you have to focus on a few to make a meaningful difference. For many years I have supported Multiple Sclerosis charities.
“My Mum has this neurological condition, so it’s a cause that’s understandably very close to my heart and I will continue to support it.
“Children’s medical research is also something that the Foundation will heavily support. The Children’s Medical & Research Foundation (CMRF) works tirelessly towards providing the best care available for sick children. On a recent visit to a children’s hospital in Dublin I saw firsthand what the CMRF do, and most importantly why they are needed.
“It was a real eye-opener and has made me even more passionate about the cause. We also hope to take some of these sick and recovering children on trips, such as to Orlando, giving them the experience of a lifetime to help lift their spirits.
“The G-Mac Foundation is going to be my way of giving something back. I’ve got some short-term goals and some longer-term ones, but we’re in the early stages just now and I’m excited about it. I’m particularly excited about today’s official launch in New York and I’m hoping to raise a lot more for the Foundation.
“Going forward I will have more evenings similar to this, and possibly some golf days and the likes. People are now able to make donations via the charity section on my website (www.GraemeMcDowell.com) and generally I am going to work hard to continue channelling money into the Foundation.”