Graeme McDowell has leapt to the defence of the European Tour over the controversial participation requirements it has built in to its inaugural Final Series.
The Northern Irishman was responding to criticisms from many players, including his fellow major winners Ernie Els and Charl Schwartzel, about the new four-tournament season finale.
In order to be eligible for the season-ending DP World Tour Championship – taking place in Dubai this week – players had to play at least two of the first three events: the BMW Masters, the WGC-HSBC Champions, and the Turkish Airlines Open.
Several players, South African pair Els and Schwartzel included, believe that this requirement is unfair and have intimidated that, unless it changes, they may be forced to rethink their commitment to the European Tour.
Graeme McDowell, however, doesn’t think they should be too hasty or as harsh in their criticisms, insisting that it’s unreasonable to expect the sysem to be perfect in its first year.
"The premise is there, the premise is right, and it's only a matter of time before it’s perfect.” - Graeme McDowell
“I think the European Tour should be granted some time to get this thing right,” said the 34-year-old. “The ‘two from three’ was designed to try and get the best fields possible for the three weeks, which I get.
“It doesn't suit everyone. It's been a long, busy year. Travelling out to China with guys with families in a sort of build-up after a long season, I get it. Doesn't suit everyone. Like I say, this will take a little bit of time to sort of find its feet and to establish itself and to, let's be honest, it's hard to please everyone all the time.
“We're professional golfers who, you know, are very hard to please and who are independent contractors, blah, blah, blah. The premise is there, the premise is right, and it's only a matter of time before it’s perfect.”
Graeme McDowell added that he believes his old pal, Rory McIlroy, is close to rediscovering the form that saw him win the money list on both sides of the Atlantic last year.
If he won this week, I wouldn't be surprised,” said McDowell. “I played with him the first round in China and his game looks back to close to his best.
“It’s difficult to comment on anything else really because I really haven't seen enough of him lately to know what needs to change, really where his head's at. He's had a lot of distractions off the golf course this year, as we all know, his game certainly looks like it's back to his best.”
Graeme McDowell: In it to win it
Graeme McDowell is one of nine players who could win the Race To Dubai this week at the DP World Tour Championship. When he got his tournament underway this morning, he was in third place on the standings, 321,800 points behind the leader, Henrik Stenson.