Kids will inspire Graeme McDowell to return to winning ways on golf course
Graeme McDowell has opened up about being a father and vowed to return to golf's top table following "an unbelievable ride".
Writing for the European Tour Player Blog ahead of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic which starts today, the doting dad talked candidly about the impact having children has had on his priorities, but promised fans that he is motivated to return to the top 20 rankings.
"Fatherhood is an unbelievable ride", the Portrush-born star said.
"I'm very much enjoying it although I can confirm that sleep is less of a priority than it used to be. I don't think anyone can tell you how you're going to deal with it mentally and emotionally and physically going through the process of having a family, until you go and live it and feel it."
The former US Open champion became a father for the second time when his interior designer wife Kristin (below) gave birth to baby boy Wills Edson in August last year.
The low-key couple, who married in the Bahamas in 2013, had their first child - baby girl Vale Esme - two years earlier, but the 37-year-old insisted that having children hasn't diminished his passion for the golf course.
Despite a blistering start in the Qatar Masters in Doha by McDowell when he shot 66, he failed to capitalise and finished the tournament tied for 28th place on eight under par. The disappointing finish saw him slip from 91 to 95 in the world rankings.
"Obviously, you don't think you can ever love anything as much as family members or friends and then you meet your first child and then you realise your heart gets bigger," he said.
"Do I love golf less? No, I don't but it certainly has become a little bit more secondary in my brain over the last few years."
The family man confessed that he prefers being at home on the sofa with his kids over dragging himself to the golf course, but it is also his children who have motivated him to return to form.
"I'd like my little five-month-old boy to be able to see daddy win some tournaments instead of having to watch the old recordings. I'll turn 38 this year and I am going to give myself until I'm 45 to really go out there and play hard and give the game everything. It would be so cool for my kids to watch me win a few."
The Ryder Cup star said he now has the hunger, work ethic and strategy to climb back up the rankings, and that 'patient' and 'calm' will become his buzzwords.
"I know where I want to be, and that's back at the top of the game and competing in the Major championships and obviously back in the world top 20. But I'm not a guy who plays well when he's in a rush or he's frustrated or he's impatient. If I can work hard this year and be patient, I'll be happy."