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McDowell ready for spotlight

Graeme McDowell is looking forward to the start of what he calls "the big show" - two rounds with Tiger Woods in The Masters at Augusta.

But first there is another huge sporting occasion that will be occupying the Northern Irishman's mind as well - the clash between Chelsea and Manchester United on Wednesday night. United fan McDowell has even decided to miss the eve-of-tournament par-three competition so that he can see the action from Stamford Bridge.

"I wasn't able to get an early enough tee time," he said. "I want to have a good practice session and play a really good back nine holes, then get in and put my feet up and watch the match. United don't get to play Chelsea too often in the Champions League, so unfortunately the par three does not fit my schedule this time around."

He added: "I'm disappointed, but hopefully there will by more Masters tournaments."

McDowell's US Open victory last June guarantees him at least four more.

McDowell played with Woods in the third round two years ago and was outscored 70-73, but he was a very different player then and Woods does not have the same aura any more.

It was only last December that he lost a four-shot lead on the final day of the Chevron World Challenge in California and was beaten in a play-off - by McDowell.

"I always say to Kenny, my caddie, when we are out there playing with him - at Doral (last month) or Chevron or Shanghai last year - that this is good practice for when it happens in the big shows. It doesn't get much bigger than The Masters.

"I feel like I've played with him enough now to where it's pretty normal once you get used to the whole buzz that surrounds him, especially inside the ropes. I've got to go and play my own game and let him play his game.

"I would have been intimidated a couple of years ago, but nowadays it's reasonably normal. I was expecting to get a draw somewhere along those lines this week."


From Belfast Telegraph