It’s back to business for McDowell

Graeme McDowell holds his trophy after winning the U.S. Open.

Graeme McDowell holds his trophy after winning the U.S. Open.

LUSS, Scotland – Graeme McDowell is having a tough time getting back into gear. No wonder, after two weeks of celebrating his U.S. Open win at Pebble Beach.

McDowell has undergone a whirlwind of appearances and parties since becoming the first European to win the U.S. Open since Tony Jacklin in 1970.

Scottish Open

July 8-11

Course: Loch Lomond Golf Club (7,149 yards, par 71), Luss, Scotland.

Purse: $4.53 million. Winner's share: $754,500.

TV: Golf Channel (Thu.-Fri., 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m., 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m., 6:30-9:30 p.m.; Sun., 9 a.m.-1 p.m., 7-9:30 p.m.).

Last year: Germany's Martin Kaymer won for the second straight week, edging Raphael Jacquelin and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano by two strokes. Kaymer won the French Open in a playoff the previous week.

“I’d be lying if I said there was much practice the last two weeks,” said McDowell, who shot even-par 284 to win at Pebble Beach. “There’s been a lot going on. It’s been a bit of a blur. A lot of celebrating, obviously. It’s been a surreal experience for me the last couple of weeks.”

McDowell has spent part of that time sipping champagne out the U.S. Open trophy, which hardly has left his side since he picked it up in California.

“I flew home from L.A. after I did some stuff out there, and we had a huge kind of homecoming at Rathmore (Golf Club) on the north coast of Ireland,” he said. “We had a pretty good party that night. The sun was up as we were still drinking champagne out of the trophy.”

Now, it’s back to business. However, McDowell, a former winner here, said he isn’t expecting to win.

“I’m not putting any pressure on myself this week. I’ve got one eye on next week (at the Open Championship at St. Andrews),” he said. “I just need to shake the rust out of my system. I’m going to be practicing very hard this week.

“I definitely need to get myself back in shape. I’m going (to St. Andrews) with the expectations of competing and playing well.”

As well as shaking off the rust, McDowell needs to get used to carrying the mantle of major champion. He plans to spend this week and next talking with people about how to handle the pressures that go with winning a major.

“I’m aware of the pitfalls that come with winning a major, the expectations, frustrations, maybe feeling like I’ve made it – things like that,” he said.

“I read a great quote from Michael Campbell. He said: ‘They teach you how to get to the summit of Everest, but no one tells you how to get back down again.”

Campbell won the 2005 U.S. Open and then watched his game go into a downward spiral. He still is mired in mediocrity.

Campbell was 249th on the European money list last year, when he made just six cuts in 22 starts. He has made one cut this year in 10 tournaments. He played all four rounds in last week’s French Open, finishing 79th. His stroke average on tour is 77.2.

Needless to say, McDowell hopes he doesn’t follow Campbell’s path after winning a major championship.

“I feel like I’m young enough to deal with it, and have a long career ahead of me,” McDowell said. “I feel like I’m coming into my prime, playing some of the best golf of my career. I just have to keep doing that, and hopefully I won’t change.”

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