Graeme McDowell admits Masters hopes in balance due to coronavirus

Graeme McDowell admits both his Masters hopes are hanging in the balance as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Only the world’s top 50 are invited to the event, which has been put back from April until October in Augusta, and the 2010 US Open champion currently sits in 49th place in the frozen rankings.

However, the Northern Irishman fears a change in the qualification rules could yet mean he misses out amid uncertainty over the rescheduling of the golf calendar.

Speaking on a PGA Tour conference call, McDowell said: “I’d be very happy if the Masters are going to honour the current qualification as it would be if their tournament was to be held two weeks from now, obviously, because I’d be eligible for it.

“But there’s so many ifs and buts. Will it be played? If so, when? This year? How will the eligibility be governed?

“It’s so tough. It’s so difficult to know. It’s nice to be sitting in the top 50, but when I look at it in real terms, the Players, the World Matchplay, they both had to be played before the cut off.

“If we had continued to play golf, would I have earned that position? Maybe I wouldn’t have. Selfishly, I hope they acknowledge the rankings as we sit when it comes time to play.

The 2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowel
The 2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowel

“But there’s so many bigger picture things that need to happen between now and then. We’ll just have to wait and see because you know about as much as I do.

“It’s a waiting game. The European Tour and the PGA Tour are doing their best to keep us informed, but we don’t know what’s going to happen.”

If Florida-based McDowell has concerns about how the game’s shutdown will affect him on the course, he does so off it too.

He owns two restaurants and their survival has been threatened by the pandemic, with the livelihoods of his employees at the forefront of his mind.

He said: “It’s scary to see how quickly something like this can impact a business. You realise how fragile the situation this.

“We have about 70 employees in both restaurants and it gives me a perspective on what people are going through and the impact it has on their family and children.

“It makes me less focused on what I’m going through in professional sport.”