PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – One of the PGA Tour’s most easygoing guys has been anything but the last few weeks and it’s had everything to do with a game that for much of 2010 seemed so easy.
Graeme McDowell hasn’t posted a top-10 finish since the Honda Classic in March and a particularly pedestrian missed cut in New Orleans (73-75) was officially rock bottom.
“I’ve been playing some pretty abysmal golf the last couple of weeks,” McDowell said. “New Orleans was the worst.”
After his “Big Easy” bust, McDowell took a few days off with a trip to the Bahamas to “put my head in a frig,” and started over with swing coach Pete Cowen last Friday at Lake Nona in central Florida. Five hard days of practice, and a swing correction, seemed to do the trick, with the Northern Irishman posting a 5-under 67 on Day 1 at The Players Championship for a tie for fifth place.
“We just went back to some things we were working on last year and simplified some things,” Cowen said. “Back to the improvements he’s been trying to make the last two years. He gets it and he showed what he could do today.”
Part of the problem had been a “miscommunication” in a movement in his backswing. “Completely got something 180 degrees wrong. I hadn’t communicated it properly,” Cowen said.