Graeme McDowell believes he can tap into his Portrush links spirit and challenge for glory in The Open.
The Florida-based Ulster ace, 36, knows he’s a natural links player after growing up playing on the Valley Course in all weathers as a kid.
And that’s why he’s praying for wind and rain this weekend so the gofling gods can sort out the pretenders from the real links players.
McDowell said: “If I don’t win another major, I’ll be happy if I at least give myself a chance of one coming down the back nine on a Sunday between now and when it’s all said and done in my career.
“I want the weather to play a part this weekend for sure and I feel like the Scottish Open last week was great preparation on a lot of levels.
“Living in America, playing on the PGA Tour, you don’t play a lot in bad weather.
“So it’s a skill set that I feel like has gone away from me in recent years but it is coming back.
“Weeks like last me remind me that I was the kid running around the Valley Course at Portrush in all weather conditions.
“I still have that inside me. I can handle tough conditions. Give me some wind and rain this weekend and lets sort the links players out from the non links players.”
McDowell needs a big week to contend for a fifth Ryder Cup cap under skipper Darren Clarke.
But he knows that will take care of itself if he puts in a title contending performance in Ayrshire where tactical talent is as important as power.
Reflecting on his form - he was 10th in the Scottish Open and 18th in the US Open, he said: “I was a little frustrated Sunday late on that I had let it slip, because I had played all the golf, but it is all there. My confidence, it is coming.
“I had a nice performance at the US Open and I’m coming in here to a golf course I think appeals to my positional nature.
“I think we are going to see a lot of different wind directions so it is a thinking man’s track. You’ve got to stay out of these bunkers, there’s not a ton of rough, it’s not terribly long, I like the way the challenge lays out for me.”
He’s a far different player now to the wide-eyed rookie who missed the cut on his major debut here in 2004.
He said: “I was like a rabbit in the headlights because this is the big show, a major championship set-up, all those things.
“I missed the cut comfortably but it was a learning experience. It was great but I didn’t have the tools for the test — that fade you need around here.”
Asked if he had the game to win the Open this week, he said: “I think it could be but several players in the field will probably have a problem with that, so we'll see.
"It's all about the start, Thursday and Friday, getting the right side of the draw, getting off to a start.
"And if I can get into the weekend here and get the juices flowing again, I feel like I have a chance.”