I'm still wondering how I managed to win the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Playing major championships -- especially U.S. Opens -- has been a learning experience for me. After putting myself in position but coming up short at Winged Foot (2006) and Oakmont ('07), I began to understand the importance of stamina, patience and keeping frustration under control. I'm also in a good place with my game now. My teacher, Pete Cowen, has me thinking a lot less about mechanics and more about feeling shots with my body positions and footwork. Somehow I had lost that element of the game, and Pete has made hitting shots fun again. I've won twice this year, and I'm pretty excited about where I'm headed.-- Graeme McDowellAGE: 31 | HEIGHT: 5-feet-11 | WEIGHT: 170 lbs. | DRIVER: Callaway FT-3, 9.5 degrees | __BALL:__Callaway Tour ix | __WORLD RANKING:__13 | __DRIVING DISTANCE:__287.6 yards
SWING LIKE A CHAMPION
Graeme McDowell proves it doesn't have to look perfectGraeme McDowell credits England-based instructor Clive Tucker with helping him develop the mechanics for his repeatable golf swing, but for the past nine months the U.S. Open champion has turned to one of Europe's hottest teachers, Pete Cowen. At first, the pair focused on improving McDowell's short game. "When we started, I told Graeme his short game was a 3 out of 10," says Cowen. "Today, he's a 5½ or 6." Cowen is now overseeing all aspects of McDowell's swing, and his long game is consistently among the best in the world."One thing all golfers can learn from Graeme is that the swing doesn't have to look perfect, it just has to be consistent," says Cowen, who also works with Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson and, recently, Sergio Garcia. "I've tried to get Graeme away from over-technical stuff, but what he does very well is maintain a constant left wrist without shutting down his clubface. We also worked on improving his footwork so he feels shots with his feet. If you talk to many of the great players from years ago, they'll tell you they felt shots with their footwork more than the position of their clubhead."McDowell developed his game on the windy links of Northern Ireland, where hitting low, penetrating shots is crucial. There's footage of Graeme's bowed left wrist as a 10-year-old, and that "constant," as Cowen calls it, is one reason he was consistently so accurate in winning the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. "His good shots were always good enough to win an Open," says Cowen, "but his bad ones weren't. Everyone can learn from that."-- Craig Bestrom*
Graeme's starting point is always exactly the same.
His squat and pressure in his legs create good club delivery.
With a strong left leg, right-side extension is made easy.
All top players can feel good shots in their footwork.
Arms hang relaxed. Shoulder is strong, not open.
The clubhead stays outside his hands going back.
His change of direction must feel calm -- not aggressive.
Right hip, knee and shoulder are all aligned at impact.