Kingston Heath impresses McDowell

Tuesday, 13 November 2012
Graeme McDowell
Graeme McDowell

Former US Open champion Graeme McDowell has given Melbourne's Kingston Heath Golf Course a glowing endorsement ahead of this week's Australian Masters.

The Northern Irishman's appearance at the Melbourne course will be his first tournament in Australia since 2004.

McDowell, who played a pivotal role in Europe's Ryder Cup victory earlier this year, said he couldn't wait for play to get underway on the difficult course after negotiating two warm-up rounds earlier this week.

"It's a fantastic golf course, just a real advertisement for, you know, how a golf course doesn't need length to be tricky and tough," he said.

"It's very unique. Obviously we're on one of the greatest pieces of golfing land maybe in the world down here. It reminds me a little of the west coast of England there with your Birkdales and your Hillsides and that little stretch of phenomenal golf courses you have there.

"I played here on Sunday and I played in a northerly wind, then I played nine holes yesterday afternoon (Monday) in a very strong southerly wind and (that) obviously changed the dynamic of the back nine, so it's a big factor, the wind this week."

The 33-year-old believes Kingston Heath will be a good fit for his calculated style of play and is looking forward to the challenge of dealing with the course's many bunkers and other hazards.

"If I ever design a golf course, it would certainly have a lot of elements that Kingston Heath has to it," he said.

"I love a golf course which asks you to position the ball off the tee with many clubs as opposed to the modern-day gold course which is bombs away and wide open type targets.

"These green complexes are just fantastic, they're subtle without being over-killed. The bunkers are the most beautiful sand you'll ever see, the firm faces, the ball runs back into the middle of them.

"If you control your ball, you'll score, if you don't control your ball it'll beat you up. I love it.

"I think this is a golf course that will fit my eye and I will enjoy it."

McDowell also confirmed an injury he suffered after slamming his right hand in a hotel door in China recently would not affect his performance.

"The hand's fine. I rested up, had five days in Dubai last week just kind of holidaying and resting," he said.

"I was a little worried when it happened a couple of weeks ago in China. It was a little stiff after the flight on Sunday to be honest with you, but it's the best it's felt since I got here."