McDowells trusty putting stroke betrays him


AUGUSTA, Ga. – Ben Crenshaw said finding putting lines can be tough on a day like Thursday at the Masters, but finding the right pace can be absolutely maddening.

Just ask Graeme McDowell.

McDowell was the hottest putter on the planet last year, but he took 36 putts while shooting 74 in the first round of the Masters.

“I three-putted 10, three-putted 13, three-putted 14, three-putted 15,” McDowell said. “That was kind of my day, summed up right there.”

This is the guy who guy won the U.S. Open last year with all those white-knuckle par saves, who helped secure the Ryder Cup with a dramatic putt and who beat Tiger Woods at the Chevron World Challenge with a couple of pressure-packed makes.

“Pace is my problem,” McDowell said of all his three putts Thursday. “The first nine holes I could barely get a putt to the hole. And then I sort of overreacted and started blasting everything on the back nine.

“It's funny, this golf course, you get it below the hole, into the grain, and they're incredibly slow. Just don't tell anybody in a Green Jacket that I said that. You get above the hole, down grain, and they're ridiculously quick. There's such a big differential.”

“And I felt like maybe the first seven or eight holes I left myself generally below the hole and I couldn't get it there and then on the back nine I just started smoking everything, so but it's a bit disappointing.”