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Let the encores begin on PGA Tour
KAPALUA, HAWAII (AP) - Graeme McDowell didn’t stop flying around the world until there were no tournaments left for him to play.
After seven straight weeks that took him from Spain to Shanghai to Singapore, then Hong Kong, Dubai, California and Florida, McDowell finally landed home for the holidays in Northern Ireland with snow on the ground and his golf clubs nowhere near him.
And just like that, he’s back to work.
The trick now is to figure out where he’s going from here.
McDowell talked about wanting to take his game to the next level, forgetting for a moment that he already did that. He won his first major in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, one of four victories on the season. He brought the Ryder Cup back to Europe by winning the final match. And he ended the year by becoming the first player to overcome a four-shot deficit in the final round against Tiger Woods.
What next level?
“Unlikely that I will display heroics like I did in 2010, but anything sort of within the vicinity of the year like 2010 would do quite nicely.”
McDowell is happy to be in Hawaii, although he would be among the few with reason to feel melancholy about leaving the snow of Northern Ireland for the Pacific warmth and mesmerizing views of the Maui coastline.
“I’m in a period now where I want to maintain this world ranking (No. 5) and prove that I’m a world-class player,” he said. “So the next level … what I meant to say is trying to keep doing what I’m doing, really. It’s going to be a pretty tough season to replicate. To win a major championship and to hold the winning putt at the Ryder Cup is dream stuff, really.”
The 34-man field assembled at Kapalua at least shares one goal _ they want to come back next year, too. The only way to get a tee time on the Plantation Course is to win on the PGA Tour.
Jim Furyk won a career-best three times last year, including the $10 million bonus for the FedEx Cup. Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Hunter Mahan and Ernie Els each won two times. There also are newcomers, from Robert Garrigus winning the final tournament of the PGA Tour season at Disney to Tim Clark winning The Players Championship for his first victory in America.
“It’s a place you always want to come,” said two-time defending champion Geoff Ogilvy. “It’s one of the nicest venues all year, if not the nicest. It’s a nice little treat, a reward for winning a tournament the year before, and a little bit of a head start on everyone else. Nice hotel, nice place, Hawaii. Everything is good about this tournament.”
As always, there are a few players missing.
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
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Let it snow