McDowell relishing competitive return

9/14/2010 3:58:48 PM

Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell is excited to be back in competitive action at the Austrian GolfOpen presented by Botarin after resting for the last month to recharge his batteries for The Ryder Cup.

McDowell won his maiden Major Championship at the US Open in June, a fortnight after clinching The Celtic Manor Wales Open, and has spent the last four weeks taking a well-deserved break before Europe face the United States in golf’s greatest team competition.

This week he is back on the course and aiming for his third win of 2010 as the perfect preparation for The Ryder Cup at The Celtic Manor Resort from October 1 – 3.

“Since the US PGA Championship I’ve had four weeks’ rest after a very busy spring and summer,” said McDowell. “I needed some rest and time away from the game but now I need to play some competitive golf before The Ryder Cup to sharpen up and get back into the groove of competition.

“Austria has always been a place I’ve enjoyed coming to and I seem to have always played well in this country. Hopefully this week will be no different.

“The last four weeks I’ve averaged about 30 minutes of practice each day. It’s important to have balance and I needed a rest. You have to work very hard at other times but the last month has been about resting and getting my head refreshed.

“We play a lot of golf and this week I will be playing or practising seven to eight hours a day. It’s impossible to do that all the time. The last ten days I’ve been hitting some balls but now the hard work starts. From now until the end of the season I will be working very hard so it was important to recharge my batteries.”

McDowell’s Ryder Cup team-mate Miguel Angel Jiménez is also at Diamond Country Club on the outskirts of Vienna and looking to prolong the superb form which has yielded three European Tour titles this season. The last of those came at the Omega European Masters a fortnight ago and, like McDowell, the Spaniard believes it is all about finding the right balance.

He said: “This week I will try and win a fourth tournament for 2010, then next week I will be resting before The Ryder Cup. I will rest, exercise a little, eat well and keep doing the same things as always. You don’t need to change anything just because it’s The Ryder Cup.

“You are in the team because you are doing something well. I will have some nice red win, maybe a special Rioja, and some good cigars because that’s what I always do. You have to be yourself. Golf is not only about doing one thing well, it’s about finding a good level for lots of different things.

“You need to enjoy your life and what you do too. That’s very important. The golf part is pretty simple – hit the fairway, hit the green and hole the putt, easy!”

The pair are relishing tackling the 7,242 yard, par 72 course, which was only announced as the venue for the Austrian Golf Open last month and takes over from Fontana Golf Club, the host venue for the last four years.

Jiménez said: “It’s a great golf course in a beautiful setting. There’s a lot of water so there’s no chance of getting thirsty here! There are some long holes and some short ones and you need to think about ball placement very carefully. You have to be straight off the tee and hit the ball below the hole when you’re going at the green.”

McDowell added: “The course is in fantastic shape and I’m really looking forward to a great tournament here. It’s a difficult course and you need to be very accurate.”