NAPLES, Fla. – Don’t expect to see a lot of Graeme McDowell after this week’s Shark Shootout.
McDowell, who outdueled Tiger Woods to win the Chevron World Challenge last weekend, is teeing it up in his seventh consecutive event. But if you listen to his playing partner, fellow Northern Ireland native Darren Clarke, the pressure on McDowell to perform here may come after they put their clubs away.
“We could definitely win the prize for spending the longest time in the bar this week,” Clarke cracked after Wednesday’s pro-am. “There’s an awful lot riding on Friday’s [first-round] scores as to how the following couple of days will go.”
McDowell lobbied for Clarke as his partner this week.
“I knew this was going to be my seventh week in a row, and I thought, `You know what? I want to have someone to have a little fun with as a partner,'” McDowell said.
McDowell is heading back to his American home in Orlando after the Shark Shootout, then heading to his Northern Ireland home. He won't be taking his clubs overseas. He plans to take three weeks off before teeing it up in the PGA Tour’s season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions. After that, don’t expect to see him again until the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi Championship (Jan. 20-23) and then it’s a month off before heading back to the United States for the Northern Trust Open (Feb. 17-20).