Graeme McDowell will have to create a piece of personal history to retain the Alstom Open de France title at Le Golf National in Paris this week.

McDowell has never successfully defended a tournament and all nine of his European Tour victories have come in different countries, namely Sweden, Italy, Korea, Scotland, Wales, the United States, Spain, Bulgaria and France.

The 34-year-old was disappointed not to add Ireland to that list after going into the final round of the Irish Open last month just two shots off the lead, although his share of sixth place was his best finish in 13 appearances in the event.

"It was really from the US Open onwards that I really felt like my game was ticking along nicely," McDowell told a pre-tournament press conference at Le Golf National, site of the 2018 Ryder Cup.

"I was inevitably a little bit disappointed with my performance on the weekend [in Ireland], on the greens especially, but I took the positives away from the week.

"I hit the ball as well as I have this season tee-to-green and put myself in a position to win.

"Being the defending champion gives you a nice little buzz, a spring in your step and good memories and I'm looking forward to my pairing this week with Victor (Dubuisson) and the US Open Champion, Martin Kaymer, who is in some amazing form at the minute.

"I'm feeling good and ready for an exciting summer. I feel like I'm in a good space myself and looking forward to it.

"I had four or five nice days off last week, I've really made a sort of decision this year to pace myself for the summer."

"I hit the ball as well as I have this season tee-to-green"

McDowell told reporters that in previous years he has felt drained coming into the big tournaments in late summer, notably the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah, where he won just one point from four matches.

"I felt like the last three or four years, come August, I've been pretty tired," he said.

"I haven't been mentally and physically ready for the FedEx play-offs and into the early part of the autumn with the Ryder Cup.

"Even looking back to Medinah, I didn't feel like I was physically on top of my game that weekend, and I really didn't play as well as I'd like to.

"It's really been a conscious decision since then to try and have myself in peak condition come July, August, September."