Pressure got too much, admits Graeme McDowell
Graeme McDowell believes he has finally managed to relax after feeling like he has played most of the season with a gun pointed at his head.
McDowell was 20th in the world after a tie for ninth in the Dubai Desert Classic on February 1, but that remains his sole top-10 finish this season and the former US Open champion has slumped to 80th in the rankings.
A place in the top 50 is vital to gain entry into the majors and World Golf Championship events and make it easier to play both the European and PGA Tour, and McDowell admits he did not handle the pressure of his situation too well.
" I am really trying to look at the big picture at the minute," the 36-year-old said after a second round of 65 - equalling his lowest score of the season - left him five off the lead at the halfway stage of the Turkish Airlines Open.
"I am not out there as I was for most of the year feeling like I had a gun pointed to my head and it was me pointing the gun. I put myself under far too much pressure going into the summer because I hadn't played well and I am not the type of guy who reacts well to that.
"I am the kind of guy who needs to be out there very relaxed and very open-minded and very big picture-orientated. I think I have got a little too focused on the bad stuff this year and got a little too frustrated playing golf like I needed it too badly, so I am feeling very relaxed on the golf course, enjoying what I am doing and really looking into next season.
"I am trying to build my confidence and working on my technique and feeling much better all round. Whatever happens this week is whatever, really."
The top 50 in the world on December 27 will secure a place in the Masters, although McDowell would not be heartbroken to miss out given his record of making just three cuts in eight appearances at Augusta National.
" I love Augusta and I want to be there, but it is really not a happy place for me scoring wise," McDowell added. "I have got plenty of golf to play, I am trying to stay very patient and to keep building this process and results will come."