Can McDowell dump the slump?

first_imgPLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico – Graeme McDowell was lured to the OHL Classic at Mayakoba by the prospect of a clean slate. A fresh start, an opportunity to put a disastrous season behind him. A chance to rekindle his game and begin his charge back up the world rankings to the lofty perch he once occupied for so long. Through two rounds in Mexico he appears to have found all of that, but make no mistake – there is still work to be done. McDowell scorched El Camaleon on Friday, recording nine birdies en route to a 63, the lowest round of the week. At 12 under, he sits two shots clear of Si Woo Kim and appears in great position to capture his third PGA Tour win. The easy demeanor and confident smile McDowell currently carries have been a rare sight in recent months. More than a year removed from his last top-10 finish, the Ulsterman has watched his world ranking slide from No. 15 to begin the year to No. 85 entering this week. “I’ve had a spell here the last 18 months where making cuts has been hard, and getting into contention’s been difficult,” McDowell said. Things bottomed out for McDowell at the PGA Championship, where a missed cut ended his season before the FedEx Cup Playoffs began. The ball-striking, he explained, had been showing signs of a turnaround since the Scottish Open in July, but he was never able to capitalize on scoring opportunities. McDowell used the unexpected gap in his schedule to take a break from golf and take stock of the situation he had played his way into. OHL Classic at Mayakoba: Articles, photos and videos “About five weeks off I took after Whistling Straits, which was key for me,” McDowell said. “I needed to clear my head. I was under too much pressure. I was putting too much pressure on myself.” After returning to action in Europe, McDowell is now off to a strong start in Mexico – but the start has not been the difficult part of the equation this year. Time and again, he has flashed his form of old, only to falter over the weekend. McDowell opened with rounds of 67-65 this spring in Dubai, then failed to break 70 over the weekend. A similar script played out in Malaysia, where he finished T-36 despite an opening 66, and he was near the lead through three rounds of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational before closing with 73. Even as recently as two weeks ago, when he was in the mix at the halfway point of the Turkish Airlines Open with a chance to play his way into the Race to Dubai, McDowell closed with rounds of 73-75 to fade from contention. Amid a playing schedule that spans the globe, McDowell has only one sub-70 final-round score this year. One good round, even two good rounds, have been achievable goals. Stringing four straight together, though, has proved difficult. “The last few months, not staying in the present enough on the weekends, kind of getting a little excited and caring too much. Just kind of mistakes that I used to make 10 years ago when I was trying to learn how to win out here,” he said. “I’ve been going through kind of the processes of really getting there, messing it up a little bit, getting back there and playing a little better.” Another opportunity for improvement awaits this weekend, where wet conditions will lead to more low scores. McDowell appears to have his game in order, combining a red-hot putter with vintage ball-striking. After tinkering with a new driver earlier in the week, he put his old driver back in his bag for the second round and missed only two fairways. But scar tissue lingers from his recent miscues. McDowell asserts that this fortnight of fall golf, ending with next week’s RSM Classic, is an all-upside opportunity to get a head start on a new season. But he also built in some less rosy rationale, just in case he is unable to buck his recent performance trends. “This is not a last-chance saloon this weekend,” he said. Beyond the mechanics of his swing, McDowell believes the missing ingredient of late has been his frame of mind. The confidence and positive reinforcement that inherently accompany appearances on the leaderboard and trips to the winner’s circle have simply been non-existent. “Of course I would dearly love to be in the heat Sunday afternoon and have a chance to win here,” he said. “But like I say, I need to keep the attitude good this weekend, and I think I haven’t done that well the last few months.” McDowell sought an opportunity for redemption this week in Mexico, and after two strong performances that’s exactly what he has created for himself. But the toughest part of his journey back still lies ahead. It’s not assembling the various pieces – it’s keeping them together until the final putt drops.last_img read more

Pet Sematary (2019) Blu-ray review

first_imgCredit: ParamountThere’s quite enough burying in this film, so I’ll not bother burying the lede. The original version of Pet Sematary is better. That probably won’t be said too often about all the new Stephen King remakes we get over the next few years. As we all know – apart from the odd masterpiece here and there – King’s work has been rather haphazardly adapted in the past, and so this is a great time to see all his famous stories getting the quality treatment they deserve. This remake has all the right ingredients for a terrific new version, but like the reanimated corpses in the film, it just didn’t come back the same.Directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, the plot doesn’t stray too far from the book or the ’89 film. Not to begin with anyway. Jason Clarke is Louis Creed, a doctor who has moved his young family from the big city out to rural Maine, where he has taken up a job at the university hospital. In the woods behind their new house, his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and daughter Ellie (Jeté Laurence) discover a Pet Sematary. Their folksy old neighbour Jud (John Lithgow) warns them that the woods are a dangerous place.When Ellie’s cat is killed in the busy road that runs in front of the Creed house, Jud tells Louis that he could spare his daughters pain by burying the cat deep in the woods, in a place far beyond the Pet Sematary. Louis does this, and the cat returns from the dead a day later, but he is no longer the same cat. Thanks for the advice Jud! One minute you’re telling us the woods are a dangerous place, and now thanks to you we’ve got a fucking zombie cat.If you’re familiar with the book, or with Mary Lambert’s original movie, you will know what comes next. The book is without a doubt the bleakest and most distressingly horrific yarn that Stephen King has ever spun. In the introduction to the paperback release he declares the novel to be the one where he finally went too far. I think that after two attempts we can safely say that it is just too hard to put that sort of darkness on screen. Lambert’s version embraced the absurd in order to leaven the pitch-black horror with humour. This version plays it straight. It doesn’t work.The second half of the film takes some generous liberties with the source material, but I see why the filmmakers made these choices. For those who haven’t seen the film, I won’t spoil it here, but the big change in this version certainly adds to the threat, but loses some of the truly disturbing horror in the process. The cast are excellent across the board, and Jason Clarke is terrific as Louis, haunted and maddened by the grief he suffers. In terms of production value and acting talent the film is a big step up from the ’89 film, but in every other way the original is far superior.Pet Sematary comes in at a pretty lean 101 minutes, but gives the impression that it was intended to be much longer. It appears to have been cut to pieces and then reassembled in a fairly careless way. It feels rushed, and a bit clumsy, and in order to make sense of some of the things that are happening, it relies on a pre-existing knowledge of either the book or the original film. Which in all honesty is a complete failure of storytelling. It’s a creepy film, there’s a few decent jump scares, and some really gruesome and grisly stuff in there too. But the whole thing lacks atmosphere and is largely forgettable.The main event on the Blu-ray disc is Beyond the Deadfall, an hour-long documentary covering the making of the film. There’s lots of in-depth behind the scenes material, interviews, and contributions from the main cast and crew. Most of the rest of the special features are just deleted scenes that have been repackaged in different ways.There’s the actual deleted and extended scenes. Then there’s the alternative ending for the final ten-minutes of the movie. This expands a bit further on what happens in the theatrical release, and needless to say, it is super dark. Night Terrors consists of three sequences of Louis, Rachel, and Ellie each having nightmares about the things in the woods. Finally there’s The Tale of Timmy Baterman, featuring John Lithgow hamming it up wonderfully as he tells this ghoulish story.Pet Sematary is available now to Download & Keep and on Blu-ray and DVD 12th August from Paramount Home Media Distribution.Cast: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow, Jeté Laurence Director: Kevin Kölsch & Dennis Widmyer Writer: Jeff Buhler Released By: Paramount Home Media Certificate: 15 Duration: 101 mins Release Date: 12th August 2019last_img read more