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Page last updated at 16:31 GMT, Tuesday, 13 July 2010 17:31 UK

Graeme McDowell aware of pitfalls after first major win

The Open Championship, St Andrews, 15-18 July
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, Red Button, BBC Sport website, with updates on BBC Radio 5 live Full coverage details

Graeme McDowell
Graeme McDowell at Tuesday's press conference at St Andrews

US Open winner Graeme McDowell will seek out the advice of other major champions as he aims to build on his triumph at Pebble Beach.

McDowell, preparing for this week's Open at St Andrews, has been inundated with congratulations from the great and the good of world golf.

However, the Northern Irishman is aware of the pitfalls that can be lurking for first-time major winners.

"There's all kinds of mistakes that guys have made in the past," he said.

"I'm very aware of the pitfalls: complacency; expectation levels; really trying to change my game now I'm a major champion.

"How I deal with it in the long term boils down to decisions that I make, my schedule, big decisions like that."

McDowell added that he plans to seek out advice from previous major winners Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington in the coming weeks.

"I know plenty of guys like Ernie and Padraig to be able to seek them out in the next few months to have dinner and chats with them and understand how they have dealt with it in the past.

"(But) I've got a great team of people working with me and I believe they'll not let me make the mistakes that will sort of drag me down."

McDowell, who will play with former US Open winners Jim Furyk and Geoff Ogilvy in his opening two rounds at the home of golf, is continuing to receive words of congratulations from the golfing world.


"Frank Nobilo just asked for my number so he could pass it on to Greg Norman," added McDowell on Tuesday.

"All the players coming up to me from both sides of the Atlantic have been really happy for me.

"It's tough to pick out letters and emails from people - (but) Arnold Palmer, Peter Alliss, legends of the game.

"I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to be able to enjoy my first major championship and everything that goes with it."

McDowell is one of four Northern Irish golfers in the field this week, alongside Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke - who secured his place only by finishing second at Loch Lomond on Sunday - and Gareth Maybin.

McIlroy has missed the cut in the last two majors and is 13 over par for the only two Opens he has played so far, but is still rated second favourite by some bookmakers behind Tiger Woods.

"Rory is a very experienced young man for a 21-year-old," McDowell added.

"I know he came here on Thursday and Friday last week and spent the last four days back in Northern Ireland playing at Royal County Down and Portrush.

"He's been on the big stage before, I don't think there's any risk he'll get over-excited.

"I really think Rory has a great chance this week. He loves this golf course, he's got a pretty mature head on young shoulders and he's got the game to do it."

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see also
McDowell to partner Furyk at Open
12 Jul 10 |  Golf
Rose partners Woods at St Andrews
12 Jul 10 |  Golf
Woods suffers in St Andrews gales
11 Jul 10 |  Golf
Runner-up Clarke seals Open place
11 Jul 10 |  Golf
McDowell in historic US Open win
21 Jun 10 |  Golf

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