Graeme McDowell wary of `evil` pin positions at Muirfield
Gullane (Scotland): Graeme McDowell is ready for a little skullduggery at this week`s British Open as the Northern Irishman puts his instinctive links golf skills to the test at bone-dry Muirfield.
The former U.S. Open winner, in prime form with three wins from his last eight starts, anticipates a fair test on the sun-baked coastal layout but should players start blasting the course apart in light winds, organisers will be ready.
"It really just depends," McDowell, who will play with pre-tournament favourite Tiger Woods and 2010 winner Louis Oosthuizen in the first two rounds, told reporters on Tuesday.
"(The R&A) can get fairly evil with pin positions, I have to say. They can get a little bit evil. These greens, there are some little corners on them that they can find."
McDowell said he and the rest of the field would be watching Woods`s game plan "with interest" on Thursday and Friday after the American world number one said he was reluctant to use driver, such is the roll on the fairways.
But he will be relying on his own feel for the bumps and hollows around Muirfield, the only course on the British Open circuit he is yet to tackle in anger.
"I think the links-style golf is in my blood and I always feel like I revert back well to it," the 33-year-old said.
"You really can`t play this golf course from the rough.
"This is certainly a game of chess this week, where you have to position your pieces and keep them in play."
McDowell`s amazing recent run, which also includes five missed cuts, has a slight feel of "hit and miss" golf - the like of which is unlikely to prosper at Muirfield.
However, he said the topsy-turvy nature of his season was not quite as it seemed.
"I`ve won three times in the last eight events, but missed five cuts in the last eight events," said McDowell, who is clearly taking the "glass half full" attitude.
"I think my season has not felt as inconsistent as perhaps it`s read. Those missed cuts, if you look at them, I missed by one at Augusta, missed by a couple at Players, missed by one at the Irish, missed by a couple at Wentworth, missed by a couple of hundred at the U.S. Open.
"It hasn`t really been as bad as it`s read."
McDowell, who finished tied for fifth at Lytham last year, and U.S. Open champion Justin Rose are being touted as the best home hopes although he is quick to jump to the defence of world number two Rory McIlroy despite his poor season.
Odds of 4-1 have been offered on McIlroy missing the cut but McDowell says prospective punters might be throwing away their money.
"The game of golf is very difficult," he said. "It`s fickle.’
"This time last year Rory McIlroy`s form wasn`t very good either, and he proceeded to have an incredible last six months of the season. So I don`t think anyone in this room would be shocked if he won this week."
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