Old and new on McDowell`s agenda for PGA Tour season opener

Last Updated: Jan 05, 2011, 14:02 PM IST

Kapalua: US Open champion Graeme McDowell will embrace something old and something new when he launches his 2011 campaign at this week`s Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

A four-times winner last year after producing sizzling form on both sides of the Atlantic, McDowell has decided to maintain a similarly hectic playing schedule this season while switching his golf club manufacturer from Callaway to Srixon.

Sticking to the same formula which helped the Briton clinch his maiden major title in the US Open at Pebble Beach makes sound sense but changing clubs has often been a risky move for players.

"I`m sure people are scratching their heads," McDowell told reporters at the picturesque Kapalua Resort on Tuesday about his decision to switch to new equipment.

"But sometimes things come to end and I feel really good about the start of a new era with some fresh energy coming at me from some new guys."

"The golf ball is probably one of the things that attracted me the most, the Srixon ball is pretty impressive. I was messing around with it at the end of last season and I realised it was a golf ball I could get to the next level with."

Asked what that next level could be after a golden 2010 that featured his major breakthrough and the joy of securing the winning Ryder Cup point for Europe, McDowell replied: "I`m fifth in the world, which is personally very satisfying."

"I`m not a guy who pays a lot of attention to the rankings, but I realise that my world ranking right now is very much based on my last seven months` performance."

"I have a lot of things I want to achieve in this game. I`m in a period now where I want to maintain this world ranking and prove that I`m a world-class player."

McDowell ended last year with a hectic flourish, criss-crossing several time zones as he played seven tournaments in as many weeks -- the last of them the Chevron World Challenge where he beat host Tiger Woods in a playoff.

"Seven weeks on the spin and 32,000 air miles is not conducive for staying physically and mentally fresh during the season," the Northern Irishman said while preparing for the opening event on the 2011 PGA Tour at the Kapalua Resort.

"Obviously it was a great way to end the year and I was very proud of myself that I could finish as strongly as I did. It was a pretty hectic travelling schedule."

"My schedule this year is not massively changed. I`m going to add a couple more events here (in the US). Apart from that, I`m playing a very similar type schedule ... playing golf courses and golf tournaments that I do know."

McDowell, who will play most of his golf on the PGA Tour this year, sounded one note of caution about his schedule.

"I`m going to have a good sit-down ... make sure I pace myself and make sure I don`t get into a situation where I play too much golf," the 31-year-old said.

"There are certainly a lot of opportunities around the world nowadays to go and play golf, and you`ve got to keep it quality rather than quantity."

Bureau Report