While the rest of the world was busy not watching the pre-Masters par-3 event, Graeme McDowell was busy not playing in it. As attractive a prospect as it was– cute children in white overalls, tame old-timer jokes, the possibility of a pre-tournament curse; I mean, what’s not to love!?– the US Open Champion had a more pressing engagement: the first leg of the UEFA Champion’s League quarter-final between Manchester United and Chelsea.
As McDowell himself explained:
“Unfortunately the par-3 does not fit my schedule this time around. I’m disappointed, but hopefully there will be more Masters tournaments… United don’t get to play Chelsea too often in the Champions League, so it will be a lot of fun.”
Though the match turned out to be only marginally more exciting than the par-3 contest, McDowell will have been buoyed by United’s 1-0 victory. At the very least, he won’t be plagued by the sort of distraction that saw him slip from contention in last year’s Austrian Open, where he took time out from the closing stages of the final round to ask one of Sky’s on-course commentators for a Premiership update.