Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Graeme McDowell: I can upstage Rory at the Open

Graeme McDowell: 'I'm excited about how I'm playing and how fresh I feel.'

Graeme McDowell would like to remind people that Rory McIlroy isn’t the only Ulsterman capable of winning a second Major at Sandwich next week.

‘G-Mac’ says he’s been busy getting himself reacquainted with links golf at his local Portrush course.

And he believes that will help put him in good stead for both the Barclay’s Scottish Open, which gets under way today and, of course, the Open Championship itself.

“I also played nine holes at Sandwich on Monday, and really I'm just getting the links vibe back again,” he said.

“I’m excited about how I'm playing and how fresh I feel.”

Now that he has become known as the ‘former’ US Open champion, McDowell admitted that the title he won at Pebble Beach in 2010 — which has since been passed on to his compatriot, good pal and global media magnet McIlroy — was “a bit of a weight, dragging me back, and stopping me from looking forward.”

He added: “It was also stopping me from setting new goals and motivating myself to be the best player I can be.

“I had a decent 12 months, I played well, I played very well for some six to eight months afterwards, but then had a sluggish three or four months.

“But that was inevitable, and overall I'm very happy with my 12 months as US Open champion.

“I'm also very happy that weight has been removed, and I'm looking forward to moving on and achieving more things in the game.

“Tasting that kind of success, you want more of it, so I'm excited. I'm feeling good.”

McDowell thinks Castle Stuart, venue for this year’s Scottish Open, is “a fantastic new venue, and such ideal preparation for next week”.

And he added: “It's a very beautiful course and it's going to be good for driving stats, as there's a couple of fairways out there that if you miss you should be shot.”

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