By Mark Lamport-Stokes
THOUSAND OAKS, California (Reuters) - Graeme McDowell will take a 10-week break after the World Challenge ends on Sunday to recharge his batteries for a hectic 2013 campaign on both sides of the Atlantic.
The globe-trotting Northern Irishman competes regularly on the PGA and European tours and has decided to finish his 2013 U.S. schedule in August, earlier than usual, before switching his focus to the late-season flurry of events in Europe.
"I'm probably going to have to play 14 (PGA Tour) events between February and August, as opposed to 15 between January and October," McDowell told reporters after firing a six-under-par 66 at Sherwood Country Club on Friday.
"Our version of the playoffs (on the European Tour) makes the end of the year pretty full on. When the guys on this side of the pond are sort of hanging their clubs up for a couple of months, we're kind of putting the pedal down in Europe.
"We have a lot of quality events around the world with golf as healthy as it is, but it makes it pretty difficult for a two-tour guy like me," added the Northern Irishman, a seven-time winner on the European Tour. "It's a lot of golf."
The final six events on the 2013 European Tour will be staged in Portugal, Australia, China, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates for the season-ending DP World Tour Championship.
McDowell, who will take a three-shot lead into Saturday's third round of the World Challenge as he seeks a first tournament victory in two years, relishes the prospect of a 10-week break before taking on his busy 2013 schedule.
"I'm looking to the next 10 weeks off being a springboard to 2013," he smiled. "I would love to compete and play well this weekend, to put a little icing on what's been a mediocre year.
"Despite the fact that I feel like I've played some decent golf this year, I really don't have a lot to show for myself, and this would be a nice way to finish.
"Then these next 10 weeks are going to be very important to me to recharge and refocus and reset because I know I'm in a good place, both on and off the course, and I feel very positive about next season, regardless of what happens this weekend."
McDowell, who has not triumphed anywhere since a golden 2010 campaign highlighted by his first major victory at the U.S. Open and capped by a playoff win over Tiger Woods at the World Challenge, has a lot going on in his private life at the moment.
He announced his engagement to Kristin Stape in Dubai earlier this month and, with their wedding planned for late next year, will shortly be taking up a new residence in Florida.
"December will be very much recharging and relaxing and moving into my new house in Orlando and spending some time with friends and family," McDowell said.
"And January will be detoxing and practising and getting ready to do it all again, I suppose. It's been a long three years, four years (of competitive golf) for me and I'm look forward to some time off."
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)