AKRON, Ohio -- Uncharacteristically struggling for much of the year with his game, his confidence and his usually cheerful disposition, Graeme McDowell had to ask himself some hard questions before he arrived at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone C.C.
Fortunately, the answers were easy, even when the game isn't.
Without so much as a top-25 finish in 2015, McDowell found some relief for his ailing game Thursday, driving and scrambling his way to a four-under-par 66 Thursday on Firestone's wearisome South Course, one off the lead established by Danny Lee. It was his lowest score since an opening 66 at the RBC Heritage in April, where he finished T-26, his best showing of the season.
"I think probably the hardest question was do I still kind of want to grind and be out here? Do I still want this? I mean, yes. It was an easy answer, yeah, I do want it," McDowell, who turned 36 last week, said after making five birdies in his first 10 holes and then hanging on. "If this all went away, I'd miss it very badly. So when you answer that question positively, then you've got to start kind of answering all the other questions. How do I get myself back to where I need to be? And it starts with technique, and it starts with hard work and motivation and kind of all the things that I've done in the past. So I think the biggest question was kind of the whole do I still want to be out here?"
And why was he asking himself that?