Cream of the Irish will rise to the top at World Cup of Golf, vows Graeme McDowell
GRAEME McDowell expects the cream to rise to the top during the World Cup of Golf in Melbourne but is feeling confident about Ireland's chances.
The Irishman, who finished fourth in the Race to Dubai, is respectful of the Royal Melbourne course but thinks he and team-mate Shane Lowry will make it through to Sunday's play.
"You've really got to respect it. You really have to pay attention to what you're doing out there because the wrong shot on the wrong line and the wrong shape at any given moment can get you in all sorts of trouble,'' McDowell said.
"I feel like it will bring the cream to the top, for sure. The top players will shine and the less experienced players will have a problem with this golf course.
"Shane and I are as good and experienced as anybody this week and, hopefully, we can be playing together late on Sunday afternoon.
"It's just a great track that requires a lot of strategy, a lot of positioning of iron play coming into these fast and firm undulating greens."
McDowell revealed he will approach the course in a slightly different way than would be expected.
He added: "You don't hit many drivers, maybe four or five max out there.
"Like a links golf course, the wind can change this course within the space of an hour, change the character of holes when the wind switches direction.''
McDowell also hailed Australia's Adam Scott, who along with Matt Kuchar, is heavy favourite for individual honours at Royal Melbourne.
Scott, currently ranked number two in the world behind Tiger Woods, has won back-to-back tournaments - the Australian PGA and the Australian Masters, with the latter held at Royal Melbourne last week.
"Scotty's just one of those guys who you play with and think to yourself, 'Why is this guy not winning every week?' He's that impressive,'' McDowell said.
"I had the pleasure, or displeasure, of playing with him in the last round of the Open championship last year, but I knew it was only a matter of time before he developed into the player that he is.
"He has always been an awesome player.''
The money focus at the event has shifted from team to individual honours, with $7m (€5.2m) in prize money to be divided among the 60-man field, including $1.2m going to the winner. In contrast, only $1m has been allocated for the teams event, with money only being split between the top three teams.
Despite this, McDowell's focus is on team glory.
He said: "We're big on the team element. The World Cup will always be about the winning team and we're passionate about standing there as the winning team on Sunday night."
Meanwhile, Siddikur Rahman will make history when he tees off in Melbourne.
The 29-year-old will become the first Bangladeshi player to take part in the tournament, two weeks after claiming his second Asian Tour title when he won the Hero Indian Open.
"I'm really excited and I'm glad to play in this tournament. I'm proud with what I have achieved," Rahman said.
"I have received a lot of messages from my fans and friends on Facebook and emails and they are encouraging me to play well and it's good for me and good for golf in Bangladesh."