Celtic heroics to horror show in 12 months
Published 07/06/2011 | 08:22
2010 Sunday, June 6: Shoots 15-under (64, 63) on the hottest weekend of his career, emerging from ‘D-Day’ at Celtic Manor with the Welsh Open title and the conviction that "something big may be around the corner". Operation Overlord begins for G-Mac.
Sunday, June 20: Storms Pebble Beach, becoming the first European in 30 years to win the US Open. Surveying the list of men who’ve prevailed at Pebble in golf’s most punishing Major, he says: “Nicklaus, Watson, Kite, Woods … me. Wow!”
Monday, October 4: Colin Montgomerie places strong man McDowell at No 12 in his Ryder Cup singles order “just in case”. Just as well. It all comes down to the final match with Hunter Mahan. G-Mac prevails, in the process sinking the putt of his life at 16 – European golf’s ‘Shot of the Year’.
Sunday, October 31: Last man standing on a gruelling final day at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters.
Sunday, December 5: Completes the greatest final day fightback by any player against Tiger Woods, coming from four behind to force a playoff before beating Woods on his own patch in the Chevron World Challenge.
2011, Thursday, January 6: Just 24 days after drawing down the curtain on 2010 , McDowell returns to action at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. His hotstreak continues as a course record 62 on Sunday in Hawaii places him third. Significantly, G-Mac’s new Srixon and Cleveland clubs work a treat!
Sunday, January 23: Finishes tied third behind Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy in Abu Dhabi. Looking forward to a four week break, he says: “The first couple of weeks, I’ll rest-up, just relax. The following two weeks will be spent getting my game in shape for a busy spring and summer.”
Wednesday, February 23: Beats Heath Slocum at the Accenture Match Play; then overcomes Ross Fisher before losing to YE Yang on Friday. Yet he says: “To be brutally honest, I was frustrated with my game all week.”
Sunday, March 6: After shooting 64 for a share of sixth on Sunday, the equal-low round at Honda since the event moved to PGA National in 2007, McDowell admits: “I’d a good short game week – it kept me in there when my long game wasn’t at its best.”
Sunday, March 13: “It was a frustrating week overall, I didn’t keep the ball in play often enough,” says McDowell after tying 42nd in the Cadillac at Doral.
Friday, March 25: A first round 80 at Bay Hill helps consign McDowell to his first missed cut in seven months. He concedes: “Maybe that was the wake up call I need. I have to get my focus back on what I’m doing as opposed to all the other crap going on around me.”
Friday, April 8: Fails to make the weekend at The Masters, pointing the finger at his putting. “I hit my ball as well as I have for years but I just didn’t have it on the greens.”
Friday April 29: Another black Friday, this time at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans as he misses his third cut in four events.
Sunday, May 15: A weekend working with coach Pete Cowen has McDowell zinging it once again. He leads The Players through 54 holes but “runs out of steam” on a marathon Sunday at Sawgrass, finishing tied 33rd after a closing 79.
Saturday, June 4: Playing his sixth tournament in seven weeks, including another missed cut at Wentworth, McDowell’s defence of his Welsh Open title is obliterated by a nightmarish third round 81. The countdown to next week’s US Open at Congressional could not differ more starkly with the glory trail which took him to Pebble Beach.