Graeme McDowell described himself as a racehorse, “coming up fast on the rails”, as he looked ahead to trying to catch Martin Kaymer as the Race to Dubai turns to a sprint.
McDowell trails race leader Kaymer by €290,910 heading into the Dubai World Championship presented by DP World but after a run of first, joint third and fifth in three of his last four tournaments, has momentum on his side.
“I started off on a five week run with Martin nearly a million euro ahead of me, and I wasn't quite sure I would be able to catch him,” said McDowell. “But I wanted to get here with an opportunity to win The Race to Dubai if I played well and I've given myself that chance now. I’m excited about it and trying to put a bit of polish on a good season really.
“Last week, tee to green, I played very well, struck the ball great. I've been feeling great and feeling like there's plenty left in the tank this weekend. I’m looking forward to it, and obviously the final group with Martin tomorrow, the adrenaline should be pumping from the word go.”
Asked to describe his battle with Kaymer, McDowell said: “I can definitely feel from him that he's extremely driven and he really wants this desperately bad this week. And I feel like I'm the guy with the momentum coming in here. I certainly hope he thinks I'm playing great and I can give him a run for his money this week.
“If you put it in horse racing expressions, he's had a 25 length lead and I'm coming fast up the inside rail now and we've got one fence left and I feel like I'm coming strong.”
Whatever transpires over the next four days, McDowell has already enjoyed a phenomenal season, following his victory in the Celtic Manor Wales Open with his first Major triumph, winning the US Open over famous Pebble Beach Golf Links to end a 40 year wait for a home winner.
And the good times continued to roll with his inspired performance at The Ryder Cup, culminating with him securing the winning point, and then victory in the Andalucia Valderrrama Masters.
Now he has a chance of winning The Race to Dubai. The odds are stacked in Kaymer’s favour with McDowell needing at least a top three finish to have any chance of claiming the Number One crown, but to win would be an achievement to rank up there with the best.
“After The Ryder Cup, I could have probably put my feet up and taken 80 for the rest of the year and still looked back and said, great season, dream season. I didn't want to do that because I wanted to try and finish strong and try and really put a bit of a shine on the year. You don't get many chances to win an Order of Merit, or Race to Dubai as it is nowadays.
“I've certainly put Order of Merits up there. Major Championships are definitely the pinnacle, but Money Lists are very, very important. They define careers. I mean, Monty with his eight, that's unbelievably impressive.
“I wanted to give myself a chance to do it. Martin has had an amazing season. But to give myself a chance to be within touching distance this week is pretty fun.”