U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell was pleased with the way he played on Sunday -- at least until he got to the 16th and 17th holes. The Northern Irishman was 4 under for the day before he took a combined seven putts on those two holes, including four as he made double bogey on the Road Hole.
"I played beautiful today, I really did," McDowell said. "It's the best I played all week (but I) finished in an ambulance."
McDowell said the stumbling finish essentially summed up his week. Just when he started to get some momentum, he'd give shots back -- and his putter more often than not was the culprit. He ended up using 34 putts on Sunday and 132 for the week.
"Just kind of didn't have it on the greens at all," McDowell said. "Actually tee to green controlled my ball pretty well, chipped it pretty well, I just putted diabolically to be honest with you, kind of unlike me. I normally like this type of green, this kind of linksey green. I normally read them pretty well. ...
"I gave myself enough chances to compete at some level. Obviously Louis (Oosthuizen) is playing fantastic. ... But I felt like I could have competed if I would have putted properly this week. But it's difficult. Obviously I'm not quite myself at the minute as far as getting the head screwed back on."
After a couple of weeks celebrating the career-defining victory at Pebble Beach, McDowell has now played twice. He plans to take next week off, then play in the Irish Open, World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship. He hopes to have that "killer edge" next time he tees it up.
"Just that kind of grind, the dig deep, holing those six- and eight-footers; I think that's probably how it manifests itself," McDowell said. "I tried hard this week to be focused. It's just difficult. I wouldn't change it for the world. I wouldn't change it. It's been tough, you know, and I mean, I got tired yesterday. I bogeyed 12 and 13, and the crowds kind of all disappeared, and the whole atmosphere went flat and I went flat and I didn't finish great last night. I felt very tired and very exhausted last night.
"I felt good today, kind of a bit more bounce in my step. I've been sleeping like a log this week and waking up feeling like I could sleep all day, that kind of feeling. But no complaints, like I say. I had my chances this weekend. Yesterday was a big day and I didn't do the job, and like I say, the putter was a little cold. I obviously wore it out at Pebble."
All in all, McDowell, who joined the PGA TOUR last week, said that Cloud Nine has dropped down about five notches. Maybe that's what he needs to get back to the business of contending again.
"There's definitely been a sense of coming down this week," McDowell said. "Obviously there's going to be a new major champion this evening that's going to take the focus off me a little bit, and there's definitely going to be that little bit of coming down, which is good. I need to. I need to reset, rest up this week and get ready for a big three weeks, and then get ready for a big end of the season. I'm looking forward to it. Looking forward to it."
McDowell is also looking forward to playing in his second Ryder Cup in October at Celtic Manor in Wales. He’d like nothing better than to have a match with his good friend Rory McIlroy, who tied the major championship record with a first-round 63 at the Old Course, followed with an 82 and still managed to get back into the top five.
"I think we're going to have a magnificent team, and it's great to be part of," McDowell said. "It was one of my goals this summer. I wanted to have a big summer to try to get myself on the team, and probably one of any favorite spinoffs from winning the U.S. Open is being on the Ryder Cup team." – Helen Ross