Rónán MacNamara in Oman.
As Graeme McDowell prepares for his second season of LIV Golf, he admits he is very happy with how his 2023 schedule is looking but would love to be competing in the major championships this year.
McDowell was speaking after the opening round of the International Series Oman as he continues his preparations for LIV Mayakoba at the end of the month. As LIV players continue to tumble out of the world’s top-50, he revealed he still has a desire to play in one of the four majors but the situation surrounding the OWGR has led to him not even checking the rankings on a Monday morning.
“Of course I’d love to be in the major championships. My world ranking is not going north it’s going south really,” smiled the 2010 US Open champion. “Aside from not getting into any major championships I am very happy with my current schedule. I have plenty of golf to play and from a travel point of view, it’s great. I’ll see my family a lot.
“I’m not in any major championships but I feel like I have fourteen majors to play in. The 14 LIV events are fairly major from a financial point of view so there’s lots to play for.
“I very rarely look at the world rankings now. It’s something that was very important to me as a younger player and a lot is being talked about with the rankings at the moment. You’re not going to tell me Dustin Johnson is the 48 ranked player in the world, he’s not the 48th best player. Brooks Koepka is a top-20 in the world max, he’s a top-10 player in the world.
“I don’t wake up on a Monday morning checking the world rankings, it’s disappointing. It’s irrelevant to me where I’m ranked in the world. It doesn’t effect where I am in the world of golf right now, I’m just trying to compete the best I can and keep my head down and not make any headlines.”
G Mac was subjected to scathing criticism after his comments last year about why he joined LIV which accelerated to receiving death threats.
McDowell said LIV was polarising and he was happy to have joined the Saudi backed tour ahead of its first event last year but looking back, he harbours some regrets over his comments.
“I regretted making headlines last year, it was one of those things until it happened last year I didn’t realise how toxic it was going to be. This year I’m just trying to play some golf, do my job and be a pro and be as good as I can be.
“LIV has some very, very good players and without them factoring into the major championships and the best tournaments in the world, the best tournaments in the world only get weaker without them. There are solutions out there, but smarter people than me can figure that out, it’s a Rubik’s cube.”
The 2023 LIV schedule will be very appealing for McDowell as it includes three golf courses where he has won including Valderrama and Mayakoba, the latter of which will open the season.
Keen to put headlines to bed and focus on being a golfer again, the Portrush native is feeling refreshed and is excited to tee it up on familiar landscapes.
“I get to go to three events this year where I have won on the golf courses which is awesome. Saudi at the end of the season, Mayakoba and Valderrama which will be amazing to go back to so it’s pretty exciting to start the season on a golf course where I know it so well.
“It was hard last year starting on LIV coupled with the negativity of everything there were a lot of brand new golf courses a lot of new places to learn and get the hang of so this year there will be much more of a sense of familiarity with the course I’m going to play on and going back to three venues where I’ve won is going to be a lot of fun.
“I feel good, I feel physically good, ten times better mentally than I did last summer which is exciting so just gotta go out there and do my thing. I just want to be a pro this year.”
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