After a well-earned three week break following a punishing September schedule that culminated in that unforgettable Ryder Cup victory, Graeme McDowell is refreshed and ready to launch an assault on the WGC – HSBC Champions.
The Northern Irishman got back in groove in Shanghai last week and fine-tuned his game in preparation for this week’s final World Golf Championship of 2012.
McDowell is in buoyant mood and is close to hitting top form at a time of the season when he traditionally performs well.
“The game is in good shape and has been pretty good all year but I feel there is a big finish to the season in me,” said McDowell.
“I think the Play-Offs in the States took a lot out of me mentally and physically and I perhaps wasn’t rested enough for The Ryder Cup and I didn’t quite have that weekend. Thankfully I had 1 great team mates that took care of business for me that weekend!
“But I have had a really nice three week break before Shanghai last week and I am feelng as fresh as I have for a while. I played well last week and I am very keen to finish the year strongly. It has been a good season for me but there is always a fraction of frustration when you haven’t got a win yet and you have performed well.
“But, as I said, I look forward to this stage of the season because I have been traditionally quite strong at this time of year. If you look back to 2009 I finished the year well and then 2010 was a great finish when I won at Valderrama and then won Tiger’s event at the Chevron. I had good results at the end of last year too and I just enjoy this part of the year.”
McDowell is also energised by the WGC-HSBC Champions’ move to Mission Hills for the 2012 edition of the US$7 million event having played so well there at the 2009 World Cup when he and partner Rory McIlroy took team Ireland to a tie for second place behind Italy’s Molinari brothers.
“Mission Hills and the Olazábal Course there is a real driver’s course: you have to be accurate off the tee and keep it in play because if you start spraying it around then you will be in a lot of trouble. There are some really exciting holes and it is a great finish with 17 and 18 in particular being an amazing hole.
“I am looking forward to the change of venue because I have been there a few times with the World Cup and I like the venue – I think it suits my game a little more than Sheshan did.
“HSBC are one of the very best sponsors in golf and they always put on a very impressive show. I’m looking forward to the caddie awards on Friday night – there are always a few fireworks there and it is great fun.
“It’s a great field, great prize fund this week and just one of the best tournaments of the season. Obviously it’s a World Golf Championship and there is always that little bit of extra prestige attached to those tournaments – I think most people in the game agree that they are just a tiny notch down from the Major Championships because you are always playing against the best players in the world.”