McDowell pumped for pairing with Tiger

March, 8, 2013
DORAL, Fla. -- Graeme McDowell played himself into the final group with Tiger Woods on Saturday at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, and he relishes the opportunity.

McDowell played in the last pairing with Tiger at Bay Hill a year ago as Woods went on to win, but the Northern Irishman beat him head-to-head in 2010 at the Chevron World Challenge -- which McDowell won again in December.

"The intimidating thing about playing with him is what goes on inside the ropes," he said. "And it isn't him. He's an incredible guy to play with, very sporting, always complimentary. It's more the environment that goes on inside the ropes and outside, a little louder, a little busier and that's what I've really learned to understand."

Steve Stricker is on his best behavior inside the ropes this week. That's because his wife, Nicki, is caddying for him.

"She caddied for me at the '96 Presidents Cup, and I did snap and Corey Pavin has not let me live that down to this day," Stricker recalled. "We were partners, and I fluffed one out of a bunker and then took a big swipe of sand with my iron. I just layered a belt of sand right at Nicki, in her hair. And to this day, Corey keeps asking her if she got all the sand out. I watch what I do around her."

Doral's Blue Monster course is scheduled for a major renovation almost immediately after the conclusion of the tournament.

New owner Donald Trump has hired architect Gil Hanse to begin the project, which is to be completed in time for next year's tournament. Tiger Woods believes the pending renovation means officials can push course conditions to the edge because there is no worry about saving the turf for further play.

"They're just going to blow it up," he said. "I think they are going to try and push it a little bit. The forecast is for a lot of wind on Sunday. There's no humidity, so there's really no moisture."