This time tomorrow we'll be well into the first round of the Open Championship and Graeme McDowell, one of the early starters, will - all going well with the weather - be finished his opening 18 holes.

It hasn't been a good year for McDowell, who has fallen from 15th place in the world rankings at the start of the year, all of 40 places down to number 55, but last week at the Scottish Open he produced a pair of back-to-back 66s, which shows - as he acknowledged himself - that there may be light at the end of the tunnel.

Ahead of his 12th Open Championship appearance, yesterday evening McDowell spoke to RTÉ Sport's Greg Allen after his practice round, and said that he feels he is well on the way to the road back to success: "I need to start building. I can't want it all right away.

“When you've had a lean six to eight months, you just got to feel your way back into being on leaderboards.

“So I'm happy with where I'm at right now. Life's great and I'm really enjoying being a Dad. And I still want a lot in the game of golf so it's a building process."

Indeed, becoming a father has totally changed McDowell’s mindset to one of a more rounded individual, rather than one intently focused on golf, a mental aspect that the Portrush man feels can aid him in his pursuit of silverware.

"I think it's that single-mindedness and not caring about anything except the game of golf. It’s about adjusting the mindset to all of a sudden caring about something else,” said McDowell.

“I’m just adjusting that kind of mindset and adapting myself to achieving great things in the game of golf.

“It’d dedication and motivation and wanting to play golf and wanting to leave the house. So, it’s a lot of things. It’s just life isn’t it?

“I feel like I’m so much more experienced than I ever was. I feel smarter and I feel that I understand me a lot better.

“My technique is never really going to be far away. I feel I have a lot of resources and good memories to pull on when I get into the mix.

“I have this great image of my family being there on the 72nd hole of victories in the future and that’s one of the driving images, and I hope to get back there very, very soon.

“It’s good stuff, and a good problem to have, but like I say it hasn’t been like anything I want it to be but I think it’s some good stuff coming soon.”

The Open Championship will take place on the Old Course at St Andrews, a venue which has served McDowell well previously in his career, taking 11th there in The Open in 2005, and second in the Dunhill Links in 2004.

It's a venue he feels at home on, and a venue which he feels can give him further success in the future.

“This golf course has been good to me in the past and there is a knowingness that I can get around here, so there’s three or four uncomfortable holes for me and I’ve just got to play them well,” said McDowell.

“Holes like 16 and 17, which have undone me in the past. Learning how to play those well [means that] I can do no doubt compete here next week.

“I can’t expect to win this week. I can expect to compete, and I can expect that if I get myself onto the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon, we may have to change those expectation levels.

"But for me a top ten or a top 15 is putting the foundations back underneath me. I can’t expect to win, but if an opportunity comes along, I’ll certainly be first in line throwing my hat in the ring. I know I have the capabilities down the stretch.”