Irishman Graeme McDowell is set to defend his US Open title next month, but admits that it hasn't all been plain sailing since he won the tournament twelve months ago. Since then he has seen his game collapse around him, and has dropped significantly in the world rankings – not that he's going to let that get in the way of his preparation for the event which tees-off on June 16th.
"I've been off the boil for a couple months - I haven't been very happy with my game – my long game especially. It was all so easy at the end of last season and at the start of this year – this game can beat you up sometimes," he said.
Certainly he doesn't feel as though the course at the Congressional Country Golf Club, Maryland is tailor-made for his game, but at the same time he believes that he stands a chance and is up for the challenge. The Golf US Open odds certainly suggest he is in with a chance.
McDowell has never had the most ferocious drive in his locker, and as such the 523-yard par-four 18th, described by the Irishman as "probably the toughest hole I've maybe ever played", will strike him as a daunting prospect, but he believes that his accurate short game should stand him in good stead when approaching the notoriously difficult greens.
In practice he has also had difficulty with 494-yard par-four 11th, and as such has gone on the record to state that he hopes not all the back tees will be used for the second major of the year. Those looking to bet on 2011 US Open action should bear this in mind though.
As a result, it is hard to see McDowell successfully defending his title – especially given his poor run of form which saw him miss the cut at both the Masters, as well as the Classic of New Orleans. But experience counts for a great deal, and should he be in contention on the fourth day's play, there will be few that would be brave enough to see him not securing a respectable finish – and perhaps reigniting his faltering season in the process.
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