The secret behind McDowell’s PGA Tour comeback

It was great to see Graeme McDowell back in the winner’s circle on the PGA Tour with his one shot victory in the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship.

Playing on invites alone his future on the PGA Tour had been in question.

Not anymore!

I started working with G-Mac again three weeks ago and it was clear after a long barren spell he had gotten away from many of the simple tools and techniques he had employed with me in the past.

By his own admission Graeme had got too bogged down with technical thinking and away from the art of creating golf shots and more importantly creating putts.

In particular with his putting a simple pre-shot breathing technique that frees him up to create putts had been lost in the attempts at technical perfection.

It is so easy when you are struggling with your game to disappear down a technique-driven rabbit hole.

I discussed some key ideas with Graeme about getting back to where he belongs at the top of the golfing tree.

Graeme McDowell WITB 2019

In the third round at Puntacana, en route to his first PGA Tour title since 2015, he had 20 putts. TWENTY!

A career best in his 676th PGA Tour round.

And 15 of them were consecutive single putts. FIFTEEN!

Hole after hole the ball poured into the cup with beautiful pace, and it set him up nicely for a moving-day round of 64.

It was interesting to hear a baffled TV interviewer struggling to get to grips with how a simple breathing technique could have such a big effect on his results. Here’s what Graeme had to say:

I’ve been working on some routine stuff the last couple of weeks. Something small’s kind of clicked, something I used to do really well years ago. I became not so good at it and I’ve tried, I’ve been practising.

“It’s just a breathing thing and it really clicked with me last week a little bit and it’s been working really well on the greens again this week.

“It’s helping me relax and it’s helping me just stand there and hit nice putts.

When pushed for more detail, he added:

Just before I take the putter head away, just a little bit of an out-breath to relax.

“It’s something I used to do very well way back when and it’s amazing how you instinctively get good at things and then you stop being good at things as well. That’s cleaned my routines well up on the greens.

It’s a simple breathing technique detailed in The Lost Art of Putting.

We pay so much attention to the minutae of how to move the putter and so little attention to the way the mind works and how we need to embrace visualisation and creativity to allow the body to do its work.

So much of what I discussed with Graeme is contained in The Lost Art of Putting, make sure you buy your copy today.