“When I came here first in 2005,” he said, “I took one look at the course and thought ‘Are you kidding me? How do I get around this place?’ I had four three-putts in my first 11 holes of competition. But then, you learn things.
I watched how Ben Crenshaw putted his way around here; and that was a masterclass. The more I come to this place, the more my awareness continues to increase.”
Having reached the position he has in the world, and after his incredible year last year when he not only won the US Open but also sank the winning putt in the Ryder Cup, McDowell is fancied by many this week.
He is paired with Tiger Woods, a pairing he admits would have fazed him a couple of years ago. “I played with Tiger in the third round here a couple of years ago. You have to get used to the buzz which surrounds him both outside and inside the ropes.”
McDowell thinks the winning score could be as low as 15-under; and says that the course at the moment looks to be playing like the ‘fun’ Augusta, not the ‘scary’Augusta.
He also has huge belief in himself after last year.
“I may not have been born with the talent of Tiger (Woods), or Rory (McIlroy) or Sergio (Garcia) but I now know after what I achieved last year that I am good enough to win this thing.”