May 8 2013
Prior to THE PLAYERS Championship 2013, Graeme McDowell talks about how the Stadium Course can yield some low numbers.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Unlike after the U.S. Open, there is no hangover for Graeme McDowell -- even after a few late-night beers at his new restaurant following his victory in Hilton Head last month.
“Sometimes wins are springboards for something,” McDowell said. “Sometimes they feel like the finish line.
“When I won the U.S. Open in 2010, there was certainly a checkered flag feel about that. When I won in 2008 chasing my first Ryder Cup team, it felt like a springboard to a big season. (Hilton Head) certainly feels the same way.”
TPC Sawgrass should also feel similar to McDowell. For one, it’s another Pete Dye track. For another, he was in contention here two years ago before a disastrous final-round 79 to tumble to 33rd.
“Hilton Head's obviously an unbelievable positional golf course,” McDowell said. “Sawgrass is not so obvious of a positional golf course as Hilton Head is, but at the same time there is a premium off the tee. You must be on the correct sides of the fairways to attack some of these greens.”
Given that McDowell ranks seventh in driving accuracy, he should feel just fine around here.
He’s also one of the game’s best putters -- McDowell is sixth in that category on the PGA TOUR.
Still, McDowell’s best finish in THE PLAYERS was a tie for 26th in 2010.
“Very difficult to compare it to Harbour Town, but I think Pete Dye designed a certain type of golf course,” McDowell said. “You can't really compare this golf course with anything, really. I always think you can stand on the 16th tee here on Sunday with a one‑shot lead and walk off winning by four, or you could walk off losing by four. It's intimidating.”
It could also be the start of something big.