Graeme McDowell Fancies the Claret Jug

By Brian Keogh


Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission.

Graeme McDowell Fancies the Claret Jug 1
GRAEME MCDOWELL WANTS TO UNCORK SOME more champagne golf in this week’s French Open in Paris. But his thoughts are firmly fixed on filling the Claret Jug following his vintage Irish Open finish. The Portrush star closed with a brilliant 66 to turn a damp squib week into a real firecracker with a top 20 finish.

And now that he’s rated a 25/1 shot to win the Open behind Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington, he can’t wait to get to Royal Lytham for another crack at the Open.

Determined to add to his 2010 US Open victory, G-Mac said: “We have got two more majors this year and if you handed me one of them, I wouldn’t care. But I’d be lying if I said The Open Championship wasn’t a slight favourite in my mind. To win the Open in front of the British and Irish fans would be kind of sweet.”

Like Padraig Harrington, Rory McIlroy and Open champion Darren Clarke, McDowell didn’t hole the putts at Royal Portrush. But he heads into the Open as a far more polished player than in previous years and reckons he now has the experience to cope with the pressure of the game’s oldest major.

He was the first round leader in the Open at Royal Liverpool in 2006 and Royal Birkdale in 2008 but suffered stage fright and faded to 61st and tied 19th. But as a major champion now, he reckons he won’t get caught like a rabbit in headlights this time.

Recalling his Open failures, McDowell said: “I was pretty inexperienced and let all of the hype get to me a couple of times.”

Getting his preparation spot on is key for McDowell, and that’s why he’s taking next week off to get sharp for Royal Lytham. McDowell missed the cut the week before the US Open at the Olympic Club and took advantage to get there early to prepare. It almost paid off in spectacular fashion as he finished second to Webb Simpson and that’s why he’s doing the same thing in preparation for the Open.

He said: “It’s part of the reason why I’m not going to play Scotland. I’m going to Lytham for two days and try to see it in a couple of different winds if possible.

“The Open is one I would definitely love to win. With my links upbringing and on British soil, it would be a great one to win.”

Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.

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