Graeme McDowell was happy to escape Bethpage with only superficial damage as he looks forward to returning to the scene of his greatest triumph.
McDowell carded a final round of 70 in the US PGA Championship to finish five over par and will now turn his attention to next month’s US Open at Pebble Beach, where he won his maiden major title in 2010.
“My game feels good, it really does,” McDowell said. “I’m trying not to get too destroyed by this golf course. This is not a golf course that I would pick for me in a major championship and Pebble Beach is a golf course that I would.
“I’ve got Colonial next week, which is going to feel like a pitch-and-putt by comparison, then the Canadian Open.
“I have some great stuff ahead of me. I’m feeling a bit bruised and battered but I have to say the game is OK and I’m looking forward to the next few weeks.
“I’ve just had two weeks off and I feel like I’ve just played 12 in a row or something. I got here Tuesday afternoon and it’s been an incredibly long week. This golf course is relentless. That’s really the only way to describe it.
“I watched the coverage yesterday afternoon. I watched Dustin (Johnson) and Brooks (Koepka) and decided today I was going to go out and actually take my driver on, take it on a little bit off the tee.
“I drove it better today and I actually got myself in some positions and even had some short irons in my hand and all kinds of fancy stuff like that. It was kind of cool.”
McDowell won his first PGA Tour title since 2015 in the Dominican Republic at the end of March to secure his playing rights until 2021, but has yet to seal a place in the Open Championship in his home town of Portrush.
“The pressure is off my back now, I can just play golf for golf’s sake, really, apart from Portrush,” the 39-year-old said.
“That’s the only little blip in my horizon at the minute and I’m trying to shove that to the back of my mind as far as I can and now focus on these next few weeks, and obviously going to Pebble, I’m really excited about that.
“I’m looking forward to getting away from this place and a glass of wine is definitely in my future this evening. It’s been a real battle.
“At the same time I saw enough things that keep me very, very positive about what I’m doing with my game, and I’m looking forward, like I say, to the next month or so.”