Graeme McDowell targets strong finish
Ryder Cup star Graeme McDowell eyes a strong finish again.
Dubai - Highlighted by a second-round seven-under-par 65, the 2010 US Open champion finished in a tie for ninth last year to kick start his season on a bright note and ended it with a victory at the OHL Classic in Mexico in November, his first on the PGA Tour since April 2013.
Ryder Cup star Graeme McDowell will be eying another strong finish, if not victory, when he returns to compete in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club from February 4 to 7.
Highlighted by a second-round seven-under-par 65, the 2010 US Open champion finished in a tie for ninth last year to kick start his season on a bright note and ended it with a victory at the OHL Classic in Mexico in November, his first on the PGA Tour since April 2013.
In between, the popular Ulsterman endured a difficult time on the course which he attributed to adjusting to life at home after the birth of his daughter. "It had been a rough year, but for all the right reasons," he said.
"I enjoyed life off the golf course with my beautiful family. Golf hasn't been the priority it should be. But I have got back to where I want to be," said McDowell, who will be hoping to tap into good vibes he gets when playing on the Majlis course.
"Of the four Middle East events we play, this has got to be the best opportunity for me from a golf course point of view. The Majlis is a classic golf course, no doubt about it. Certainly, length helps, but there's a huge premium on accuracy. You've got to drive it in the fairway to give yourself an opportunity to make birdies," said the affable Northern Irishman, who is fondly known as G-Mac to his fans.
"The scoring is normally fairly low and the greens are just perfect, as well," said the 36-year-old from Portrush, who will be exempt to compete on the PGA Tour to the end of the 2018 season.
"I always love coming back to Dubai and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic is a prestigious event. There are some great names on the trophy and there's always a fantastic atmosphere from the great crowds at the event. I'm looking forward to the week as it is as important for me to get into the groove early in the season," said McDowell, who boasts 14 worldwide professional wins, including 10 on the European Tour.
"When I go to a tournament, I like to feel that I am in a position to compete - and I believe I can compete to win on this course," says McDowell, who rose to number four in the world rankings in January 2011 following a memorable 2010 season, punctuated by his historic US Open victory over the famous links at Pebble Beach.
Historic because it ended Europe's 40-year drought at America's national championship, making McDowell the first Northern Irishman to accomplish the feat, and the first European US Open winner since Tony Jacklin in 1970.
Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi, said: "We look forward to welcoming back a player who brings charisma and charm wherever he plays.
"Besides being a world-class player, Graeme is a great human being, one who does a lot of charity work through his G-Mac Foundation to support children's medical research in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the United States.
"I wish him the very best and hope he returns home with some fond memories of his stay in Dubai."
The Omega Dubai Ladies Masters and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic are backed by OMEGA as the title sponsor and Emirates Global Aluminium PJSC as sponsor. The co-sponsors are: CNN, Drydocks World, Emirates NBD, Gulf News, JA Resorts and Hotels, Mercedes-Benz and wasl, while Dubai Duty Free, Neocasa Interiors and Motivate Publishing are the Patrons in golf in DUBAi's drive to showcase the emirate's vibrant golfing scene to a worldwide audience.