McDowell backs Tiger to bounce back
Graeme McDowell has backed former world number one Tiger Woods to regain his aura of invincibility.
The Portrush golfer beat Woods in a play-off at the Chevron World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, California, on Sunday to ensure the 34-year-old's wait for a trophy continued. Woods had been on top in the event he hosts but suffered his first bad round of the tournament, leaving him without a win since the Australian Masters a year ago.
"I think he can play his way back into having that mystique again," said McDowell.
"There's no doubt. He's just got to do the talking with his golf clubs now. He used to appear invincible. Of course he's made himself appear more human in the last 12 months.
"At the end of the day, we're all humans and we all make mistakes and we all hit bad golf shots. But there's something a bit special about his golf game, and I fully expect that mystique to return as the golf clubs start doing the talking again."
In contrast to Woods, McDowell's year could hardly have been better. Since being runner-up in the World Challenge last year, he has claimed his first major title at the US Open and sunk the winning putt in the Ryder Cup.
McDowell said: "I've had an up-and-down career. Plenty of ups and plenty of downs. I've always figured myself as a pretty fast learner.
"I've learned a lot from my down times, from my hard years. I've worked very hard the last three or four years and made some big decisions in my life, caddies and management and equipment companies.
"I feel like I earned my stripes a little bit, and I felt like a year like this one has been coming. Obviously the script this year has been pretty amazing. I didn't quite foresee it being this amazing.
"But I really I felt like I had some big golf in me this year, and it's been amazing to be able to do it."