Editor’s note: Brian Keogh, a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun, is in Tucson, Arizona, this week for the Accenture World Match Play. Brian filed this report at his Irish Golf Desk. Used with permission.
By Brian Keogh
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF
GRAEME MCDOWELL IS DETERMINED to improve his disastrous Accenture World Match Play record in Tucson. The US Open champion and Ryder Cup hero has made it to the second round just once in four appearances in the World Golf Championship event. But he believes he can feed off his sensational 2010 form and make a run at the title if he sees off debutant Heath Slocum tomorrow.
At world No 4, a spot ahead of Phil Mickelson, McDowell said: “I look back at the last two years and I’ve had my clubs in their flight bag at 12.30 on day one. You start to think that this is the worst event in the world but I have actually played pretty well the last couple of years and shot the equivalent of 67s and just gone home.
“If you can get a couple of matches under your belt, all of a sudden you gain a bit of confidence and a bit of momentum and suddenly you are in the weekend with a great chance to win a big event.”
McDowell beat Darren Clarke in the first round in 2005 but then lost to Robert Allenby and hasn’t won a match since.
Beaten by Vijay Singh, Zach Johnson and Luke Donald in his last three starts, McDowell said: “That’s the nature of the beast. You run into a guy who plays great and you have got to try and play better than him.
“If you look at this event on its own and you’d say I am not a good match player but I have got a good match play record in general. I look at my Ryder Cup record, my wins in the Seve Trophy and even looking back to my old amateur days. I still maintain that I am a good match player.”
McDowell finished third in the PGA Tour’s season-opener in Hawaii and at the Abu Dhabi Championship before deciding to take a month off.
“I am back here this week feeling refreshed and recharged and ready to go.”
If he beats Slocum, McDowell could face stablemate Ross Fisher in the second round. The English star takes on Australia’s Robert Allenby.
Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.