"Baby steps" for G-Mac in Wisconsin

Graeme McDowell, pictured at The Open, with a new wedge

Graeme McDowell wants this week’s US PGA to confirm he’s back on the road to recovery.

The former US Open winner has crashed from 15th to 61st in the world this year and could miss next year’s Ryder Cup and Olympic Games if he fails to find form.

But after clinching his first Top 20 since January WGC-Bridgestone Invitational behind Shane Lowry, he feels he’s turned the corner.

G-Mac said: “It has to be baby steps but I’ve been grinding away and I am starting to see good things happening. 

There were certainly a lot of good things to come out of Firestone, which hasn't been a great venue for me over the years. 

“I’ve done the hard part and asked myself the nasty questions and tried to answer them and come out the other side. 

“I am getting there for sure but It is all about confidence, and belief and putting it all together. 

“And weeks like Firestone and St Andrews and any weeks previous to that, they are all weeks that start adding in to the belief and confidence bank and that’s the key for me right now.”

Whistling Straits isn’t just a big-hitters course and McDowell knows that he can compete if he finds fairways again.

He said: “Hitting it long is going to help in places but you have to keep it on the beaten track here or you are in big trouble. 

“It is the kind of course you are not going to scramble well on because if you do hit it in trouble, you are in big trouble. 

“It is steady as she goes and plenty of fairways and plenty of greens and I’ve driven it well the last couple of days in practice. 

“The only thing I didn’t do well at Firestone was drive it in the fairway but I am driving it well now, my iron play is sharp, my wedge play is sharp and I feel like I am rolling it well.”

McDowell is not putting himself amongst the favourites and would settle for a decent finish if he can stop thinking about his swing and just play free-flowing golf.

He explained; “The comfort level is back a little bit, the enjoyment level is back and I am starting to believe in what I am doing and starting to see the ball behave itself. 

“But it’s baby steps — I can’t expect to all of a sudden jump up and win the PGA Championship. 

“It is not out of the realms of possibility but I have got to set my expectations where they need to be and a Top 15 or Top 20 would be a step in the right direction.

“Yes, I am starting to play better and I know if I got a sniff, I could compete here. But we have just got to take it day by day and see what happens.”