Graeme McDowell looks to build 2016 momentum at Shootout
McDowell missed the cut in four of his final six US PGA events last season.
London: Northern Ireland`s Graeme McDowell hopes for one last victory in 2015 at the 27th annual Franklin Templeton Shootout in a bid to boost his momentum for a busy campaign next year.
McDowell is among 24 players paired into two-man teams for the unique three-day competition hosted by Australian legend Greg Norman at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida.
The duos will compete in a scramble format in Thursday`s opening round, a modified alternate shot format on Friday and a better ball format on Saturday.
McDowell, ranked 55th, is paired with American Gary Woodland, a partnership that shared fifth last year after standing second entering the final day.
After winning last month`s Mayakoba Classic last month in Mexico, the 36-year-old winner of the 2010 US Open would love another trophy to exit an often-tough year.
"I`m exiting with a lot more than I`d hoped for coming into these couple weeks," McDowell said.
"My game has been in decent shape the last few months, but I came away from Turkey, my last event in Europe, with not a lot to show for myself.
"I kept kind of throwing it away on the weekends despite the fact that I knew I was starting to sort of building some confidence and momentum. Gives me something to really take into the off-season, something to build on in the new year."
McDowell missed the cut in four of his final six US PGA events last season, including the US Open and PGA Championship and the Canadian Open in July.
"That was kind of one of the times the boat kind of hit rock bottom. It has been a long road back from there," said McDowell.
"I`ve been working really hard. This has been a result of some confidence building the last couple months, some good playing, some good technical kind of work, and great to be back competing again."
Other international pairings include South African Retief Goosen and New Zealand`s Danny Lee, Colombian Camilo Villegas and American Cameron Tringale, South African Rory Sabbatini and American Charles Howell plus Canada`s Mike Weir and American Sean O`Hair.
US tandems include Patrick Reed and JB Holmes, Billy Horschel and Hunter Mahan, Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker, Steve Stricker and Kenny Perry, Harris English and Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson and Patrick Rodgers plus Daniel Berger and Charley Hoffman.
Reed is the top-ranked player in the field at 10th with reigning British Open champion Johnson next at 13th. Other major winners in the field include McDowell, 2013 PGA winner Dufner, 2003 Masters winner Weir and Goosen, the 2001 and 2004 US Open champion.
Perry makes his 13th Shootout start, the most of anyone in the field, while Lee, Berger, Hoffman, Mahan and Rodgers make their event debuts.
Nine of the pairings are first-time team-ups, including defending co-champion Tringale and Villegas. Aussie Jason Day was to have paired with Tringale seeking a title repeat but pulled out last week.
In addition to McDowell-Woodland back for a second run, the only other experienced pairs are English and Kuchar, who won in 2013 and were second last year, and Howell and Sabbatini, who finished second in 2011 in their only prior Shootout together.