Graeme McDowell: Northern Irishman says he will not frantically chase Masters spot

Graeme McDowell
Graeme McDowell believes he is capable of regaining his best form after a couple of lean years

Graeme McDowell says he will not frantically chase a spot at this year's Masters as he prepares to begin his season at this week's Qatar Masters.

McDowell has dropped to 89th in the world rankings and as is stands, is not in the field for the Masters or the WGC Match Play in Mexico in early March.

"The Masters is not something I'm going to beat myself up about," said the 2010 US Open champion, who is now 37.

"If come Bay Hill (mid-March) I'm not in, I'm not going to add more events."

However, McDowell believes with him playing in Qatar and Dubai on the European Tour and the Genesis Open and Honda Classic in America over the coming five weeks, he is capable of putting himself in contention to earn spots at the World Match Play and Augusta.

"I'm more motivated than I have been for a while. I still have the belief that my good is good enough (to compete at the very top). I have just got to work hard and get out and be calm and believe in myself," added McDowell, who missed out on a fifth Ryder Cup appearance last year.

Graeme McDowell in action at the Masters in 2015
McDowell has missed the cut in five of his eight Masters appearances with his best finish a share of 12th in 2012

McDowell to focus on entire 2017 campaign

McDowell says his watchword in the early weeks of the season will be "patience" as he focuses on the whole campaign rather an obsession with ensuring a ninth Masters appearance.

"World ranking is very important but it's a step by step process. Getting back in the top 50 is goal number one and then back into the top 25 and competing in all the major championships.

"How long is the road going to be? It could be a long road or a short road but I'm going to be patient with it.

"The Masters is not going to be the be all and end all for me as my record around Augusta is not great.

"Things like the World Match Play and getting ready for the British Open are also on my radar."

Struggled for consistency in 2016

McDowell did achieve five top-10 finishes in 2016 but he admits he "struggled for consistency" for much of the season.

"I felt like when I played well, I did play well and posted some decent finishes but I was inconsistent and missed a lot of cuts."

The Northern Irishman accepts that becoming a father for the second time during the year may have allowed his focus to drift away from his golf.

"Getting married and having children are big steps in life. You never really understand what they are going to do to you from a priorities points of view, a mental point of view and a desire to play golf point of view.

"I think they affected me more than I thought they were going to but I wouldn't change anything for the world. I've got two very healthy and beautiful young kids at home and I'm enjoying that stage of my life."

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