McDowell irked by final-day failings
WHERE TO now? As Graeme McDowell acknowledged on Sunday as only he can – “I’m not splattered on the floor right now in disappointment” – in putting perspective on his own frustration when mirrored with that of Adam Scott’s, the reality was that the Ulsterman, as much as the Aussie, left the Lancashire coast with the need for an in-depth analysis of where it had all gone wrong.
The days when a top-five finish in a Major championship would be embraced as a satisfactory week’s work are long gone, given McDowell’s status as a Major winner and his quest to become a multiple champion.
And, for a second Major in a row, McDowell got into the thick of things, went out in the final pairing of the final round, and didn’t deliver to his own expectations.
As meritorious as a runner-up finish in the US Open followed by a tied-fifth finish in the British Open is for McDowell, the fact of the matter is he has reached a stage in his development where winning is the primary objective.
Of course, there are always more losers than winners in the game, but the “flat” nature of McDowell’s front nine at the Olympic Club and again at Royal Lytham St Annes was the over-riding consideration which he was left to ponder.
No doubt, one of the points he’ll discuss with his caddie Kenny Comboy is why they changed their game plan so early in the round. McDowell had planned to take a driver on the second hole and, instead, used a three-wood which found a fairway bunker and seemed to halt any momentum from the get-go.
McDowell’s stats from the four days are informative: he was sixth in total putting and fourth in birdies made, whilst he was ranked 22nd in fairways hit (averaging 68 per cent) but only ranked 39th in greens-in-regulation. Notably, Ernie Els topped the greens-in-regulation, averaging 79 per cent over the four days.
“I’m frustrated that I got off to flat starts both times now in the last rounds of Majors.
“I’ll address some scenarios that I feel I can do better. But I’m taking the positives away and I’ll be back,” said McDowell, who has a week’s break before resuming play at next week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Akron and then moving on to the season’s final Major, the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island the following week.
McDowell will be joined by Rory McIlroy – who has dropped to number three in the latest world rankings after being overtaken by Tiger Woods – and Michael Hoey in the field at Akron.
Hoey, who parted ways with his caddie Owen Craig after missing the cut in the British Open, gets a place in the limited field at Akron due to his Dunhill Links win last season.