GRAEME MCDOWELL HOPES that a revamped preparation will boost his chances when he tees off in the season’s first major at the Masters next week.
After coming from the high of his US Open win in 2010 to a solid but unspectacular season in 2011, McDowell has decided to shake things up a bit and skip his usual week of pre-tournament practice at the iconic Augusta National course.
Instead, he will take in the Shell Houston Open for the first time since 2006 when it begins at Redstone GC in Humble, Texas this afternoon.
The Houston Open is a tournament which holds many fond memories for the Portrush native, who received an exemption to play there in 2001 while still an amateur, but he’s not there to revel in nostalgia. With last weekend’s second-place finish to Tiger Woods at the Arnold Palmer Invitational under his belt, G-Mac means business.
“Nice to come in here obviously off back at Bay Hill feeling good about my game,” he said (PGATour.com). ”This looks like it’s going to be a great week’s preparation.
I think if it had been another week like Bay Hill last week, which was very difficult, very mentally demanding, I think maybe going into Augusta next week that might have been a little too much. But I think they just got the golf course just right here as far as level of difficulty, and, like I say, just the little details and extra mile to go here at the Shell Houston Open just to make everyone’s preparation as good as it could possibly be for the Masters next week.
There are some subtle differences in how Augusta plays in the week leading up to the Masters and during the tournament itself, McDowell notes. At any rate, he feels that he’s done more than enough homework and knows what to expect in this, his fifth Masters.
“The course plays a lot slower this week than next week. The greens are a little wetter and slower. So the short game is kind of not realistic to how it’s going to be next weekend.
“In a way you’re kind of wasting your time hitting too many chips and putts. I’ve played Augusta enough times now to know what it’s going to do.”