Graeme McDowell will put the finishing touches to his Ryder Cup preparations this week after making an encouraging return to action last week. McDowell returned from a month off with a solid performance in the European Tour’s Austrian Open, where he finished in a share of third place.
His previous tournament was the PGA Championship, where rounds of 76 and 71 meant he missed the cut. But four rounds under 70 in Atzenbrugg pleased the Northern Irishman, this year's U.S. Open winner. And with a week remaining before Colin Montgomerie's European team convenes at Celtic Manor, McDowell is optimistic he is running into the sort of form that can make him a mainstay of the team.
"I'm fired up, no doubt about it," McDowell said. "I've got a few days of practice lined up this coming week. Then it's down to Celtic Manor on the Monday and it's one of those weeks when you want to take your game with you to the Ryder Cup. It's a busy week, it's tough to go finding it somewhere, and I'm hoping to be a big part of the team."
McDowell is very impressed with the make-up of the European squad.
"You've just got to look at the wins and you've just got to look at the world rankings. It's got to be one of the best European Ryder Cup teams ever assembled,” he said. "One of my big goals this year was to be part of that and I've achieved that and I definitely want to go there and perform."
McDowell is, however, sympathetic with the big names who missed out on selection to Montgomerie's team.
"There's a couple of players who really deserve to make the team, Paul Casey and Justin Rose being two of those guys," McDowell said. "Unfortunately, we just ran out of space this year. Guys played their way on to the team like Peter Hanson and Edoardo Molinari."
Ahead of the clash with Corey Pavin's team, McDowell backs European Captain Montgomerie to prove an inspiring leader.
"He's going to be a great captain. He's very meticulous with his preparation," McDowell said. "He wants us there nice and early on Monday and we'll be very much ready come Friday."