Graeme McDowell at the 2012 Irish Open (Getty Images)
Graeme McDowell is eagerly anticipating a “really exciting week” as the Northern Irishman prepares for The Irish Open at Carton House.
Former US Open Champion McDowell is one of a host of big-name home favourites
competing, along with World Number Two Rory McIlroy, three-time Major Champion Padraig Harrington and 2011 Open winner Darren Clarke.
“It’s always a special week for the Irish players,” said the World Number Nine.
“It's a pretty amazing piece of land here; the golf course is in phenomenal condition.
“I think they have got it spot on this week with not much rough. The golf course doesn't need a lot of rough; it's well bunkered - it's very well bunkered, in fact. The bunkers are extremely penal, extremely deep and green surfaces are as good as I've seen in a long time, and I think it's set for a really exciting week.
“The golf gods look like they might comply for a change here in Ireland and that really makes a huge difference. Coming off the back of last year at Royal Portrush and the crowds we had there. Excited for that boost of energy and momentum that we got last year and hopefully we can continue it this year with great crowds and great atmosphere, and I just love what they have done here.
“They have really put a lot of effort into making this an exciting weekend and the grandstands on the back of
17, should be a lot of fun, pint in
Guinness in hand come the weekend and a bit of sunshine, should be a phenomenal atmosphere here out there on Sunday afternoon.
“So 25, 26 Irish players here this week, hopefully we can have several of those in contention and obviously I would love to be one of those guys come the weekend.”
McDowell has enjoyed some spectacular form this season – finishing in the top five at the first two World Golf Championships of the season and winning the RBC Heritage in America and Volvo World Match Play Championship in Bulgaria.
However, The Ryder Cup star has also endured missed cuts at the Masters Tournament and US Open Championship – although McDowell insists he would not change anything about his year to date.
“Consistency is fractionally overrated, there's no doubt about that,” he added. “This week is about your big weeks; it's not about your bad weeks. As much as it hurts coming down the stretch at Merion knowing that I'm heading for my second missed the cut on the spin, it hurts, and it's disappointing, it's frustrating.
“In the big picture, my season will still read very strong. My season
will still read two wins, two top fives in WGCs, and I wouldn't swap that season for last year's season - 12th at the Masters, second at the U.S. Open.
“I wouldn't swap my first six months of 2013 for my first six months of 2012, I really wouldn't.
are hugely important. To win at the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head, get my first authentic US PGA Tour win in the States over the line; to win the Volvo World Match Play; it's still a very prestigious European Tour event and I'm very proud to add my name to that trophy.
“It's been an erratic year, certainly on paper, although it has not felt quite that erratic in my head. I feel like I'm getting better all the time. Consistency is something we all strive for. It's the old adage, you would take two missed cuts and a win, as opposed to three 12ths. Really, the mathematics speak for themselves; the World Ranking points speak for themselves, and that's the way my season is reading this year, and like I say, I wouldn't really swap it.”