Graeme McDowell has insisted that making the European team for September's Ryder Cup is still his main goal for 2021 as he prepares to start the defence of his Saudi International title today.
The Rathmore man has played in four Ryder Cups - losing on his debut in 2008 but winning in each of 2010, 2012 and 2014 - but his hunger to be part of the team that will take on hosts the United States of America at Whistling Straits hasn't been dampened.
Indeed, if anything, being a non-playing captain at the 2018 event at Le Golf National in France, where Europe won back the trophy convincingly, has reignited his desire to be teeing it up at this year's rearranged event, which was due to be played last year but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"The Ryder Cup is a priority, of course it is, because if I can get myself on the team at Whistling Straits it means I've achieved the things I want to achieve this year: playing well, winning tournaments, competing in the big events, winning big events," said McDowell, who holed the winning putt at Celtic Manor in 2010.
"I'm excited. I think I can have a good year. I feel motivated and I feel healthy and, like I say, that Ryder Cup carrot is out there dangling. This time last year when I was sitting here, it felt a long, distant kind of dream.
"I feel like when I won here last year, it became very achievable for me. I'm in the frame, so I have to believe that I'm good enough to play and I do believe that I'm good enough to play.
"It would be a massive dream to be on the team."
In order to fulfil that dream, McDowell will have to either work his way onto the team on merit by putting together a string of good finishes or convince captain Padraig Harrington that he deserves one of the three wildcard picks.
But ranked 91st in the world and having not managed a better finish than 24th at the BMW PGA Championship since winning this tournament a year ago, it will take a considerable upswing in form for the 41-year-old to work his way back into the reckoning.
However, the former US Open champion is feeling a lot more confident after switching coach from Kevin Kirk to Lucas Wald and believes his hard work will pay off sooner rather than later.
"I'm in that little bit of a rebuild process but I'm starting to see some good things happening. I don't feel like I'm a million miles away from playing well," insisted McDowell, who claimed his 11th European Tour win when he held off World No.1 Dustin Johnson to win this tournament by two strokes last year.
"I would love to get some of that momentum back again this week. That would be awesome.
"It's been a disappointing Middle East so far. I missed by a few last week in Dubai and would dearly love to play well this week and get my season kicked off. I'm bullish about the year and I've got to get it started somewhere, so hopefully it's this week."
McDowell begins his title defence at Royal Greens Golf Club this morning alongside Paul Casey and Robert MacIntyre at 9.40am UK time, while Ardglass' Cormac Sharvin tees off at 10.30am with Lorenzo Gagli and Garrick Higgo.
Meanwhile, on the PGA Tour, Rory McIlroy - back up to sixth in the world - is in action at his first Waste Management Phoenix Open this week and tees off his first round at TPC Scottsdale today at 3pm UK time alongside Daniel Berger and Xander Schauffele.