With less than a week to go before the Open Championship commences at Royal St. George's, we've heard a number of names being thrown about as possible contenders for the third major of the year.
Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, and Luke Donald have been the most talked-about golfers in the field, but another player that should certainly be in the discussion is Graeme McDowell.
The Ulsterman hasn't been playing his best golf of late -- he hasn't posted a top-10 since the Honda Classic -- but after his second round 8-under 64 at the Barclays Scottish Open, there's reason to believe his game is coming around at the right time.
Like a number of players on tour, McDowell is a bit of a streak player. When he's on his game, he's a good pick to win when he tees it up. But when his game goes south ... well, that's when you expect scores ranging from 73 to 83.
But with a couple solid rounds under his belt at Castle Stuart, and a T-14 finish at the U.S. Open, there's reason to believe his game is trending upward. Looking back at McDowell's stellar run last year that saw him win the U.S. Open, Wales Open, Andalucia Valderrama Masters, and Chevron World Challenge, you'll notice a distinct trend.
He had a T-4 finish in Madrid the week before he won in Wales; and the next time he teed it up after his win was at the U.S. Open, a tournament he ended up capturing for his second straight victory. I'm not saying a strong finish or victory would make McDowell a top-3 contender to win next week, but if you look at the way things have gone in the past for him, it could be a good sign for his Open chances.
If McDowell could somehow go low over the weekend, expect to see him heading to Sandwich brimming with confidence.