The Open 2019: McDowell hopes to feed on atmosphere at Royal Portrush

Posted by on July 17, 2019  /   Posted in golf reviews

Graeme McDowell watches during Wednesday practice at Royal Portrush

Local hope Graeme McDowell hopes to be able to use a "Ryder Cup-like atmosphere" when his Open Championship challenge begins in his hometown Portrush on Thursday.

McDowell will tee off at 09:14 BST with 2016 champion Henrik Stenson and Xander Schauffele.

"I try to imagine the crowd as a Ryder Cup audience," said McDowell, 39, on the eve of the championship.

"I must use that positively and not see it as something negative."

McDowell, who turns 40 in two weeks, believes that despite all competition, he can remain competitive at Royal Portrush local expectations and the fact that he has missed the cutbacks at the Irish Open and the Scottish Open in the past two weeks .

The 2010 US Open champion has risen more than 150 places in the world rankings to his current position as 97th – helped by his PGA Tour victory in the Dominican Republic in early March.

Great draw

"In a funny way, missing the cutbacks in Scotland last week gave me some extra time to come in here and prepare me," he said

"Now I am very much looking forward to the gun going off tomorrow. I have a great draw and I think that tomorrow it will only cover the first nine holes and try to make a few birdies."

The story surrounding McDowell & # 39; s 2019 campaign surrounded his attempts to qualify for the Open after missing the major in the last two years.

The Open 2019: It is unreal that the Open is here – McIlroy

The quadruple Ryder Cup player finally achieved the goal when he finished in the top 10 at the Canadian Open last month.

"When you are watching TV at home, it is frustrating," the Northern Irishman added.

"Halfway last season I had a conversation with myself and I said: & Hey, if you continue to play as you play, this game will be much faster than you thought."

"If you have been the top 20 in the world for years and years, you feel the game easily.

" Then you suddenly came fighting to go back to the big events and you miss cuts and ends 133rd in the FedEx Cup and you think, & # 39; what happened? & # 39 ;. "

McDowell says" opposite the demons of my [golfing] mortality "made him determined to enjoy the rest of his career.

" I started getting less frustrated and started enjoying the act of trying to pull myself out of the hole that I dug for myself, & he said.

McDowell praises & # 39; phenomenal & # 39; Portrush fans

The former world number four admits that it will be a "proud moment" if it ends on Thursday.

"I was expecting a large reception but not really expecting the noise of fans and how genuinely happy and proud they will have this great golf tournament in this part of the world," he added.

"I was on the first tee yesterday and it felt like there were about 10,000 people there. A great atmosphere."

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