07 May 2020

Graeme McDowell touted for Ryder Cup return and Major triumph

With the lack of tournament play so far this season, Padraig Harrington’s 2020 Ryder Cup picks could be more interesting – and imperative – than usual as gauging player’s form will be difficult given the dearth of big events in the lead up to September.

The Dubliner will seek players that he knows are not fazed by the format and have been successful in previous Ryder Cups.

One of the experienced men that fits into this category is Graeme McDowell, who has represented Europe in four Ryder Cups and has been on the winning side on three occasions.

The Ulsterman has a record of winning 9 points from 15 matches and is unbeaten in singles play (3-0-1) and Harrington will certainly have him on his radar after his victory at the Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers earlier this year.

“G-Mac should get a pick at the Ryder Cup with how he’s played,” said his former coach Pete Cowen. “He’s a great Ryder Cup player and will fit in with anybody in foursomes and fourball. And then you know what you’re going to get in the singles – he’s like a dog with a bone – he does not let go!”

Lead from the Front

2014 European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley knows from experience how much G-Mac can offer to the team. McDowell partnered French rookie Victor Dubuisson to two foursomes victories and then defeated Jordan Spieth in the opening singles tie at Gleneagles to help lead McGinley’s side to glory.

“Graeme McDowell is the kind of guy who if he doesn’t qualify for the 2020 Ryder Cup team but is in the top 15 of the qualifiers, he’d be one you’d be looking at to pick,” says McGinley. “He’s already won this year and if he is showing some form leading up to the Ryder Cup, he’s the kind of guy you want.

“He’s easily matched for the format, he’s a good foursomes player, he’s got a big heart and he’s popular with his peers. If Harrington has three picks, G-Mac could certainly be one of them, but he has to continue his form as we get closer to September.”

Now aged 40, McDowell may be coming to the twilight of his career, but this didn’t stop him roaring to victory at Royal Greens Golf Club in Saudi Arabia against a strong field which included Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Shane Lowry.

McGinley believes G-Mac can still be a force and pick up more titles – and possibly another Major – but not on the longer courses with his lack of distance.

“G-Mac has his forties now and not many players play their best golf at this age, but he won in Saudi Arabia on a golf course that really suited him. It was windy, bouncy, and required good course management, which he has, and he’s a great wind player.

“He will be confident having played well at the start of the year but it’s going to be difficult for him to compete at the very top level with guys hitting it 40 yards past him, so he has to pick his battles.

“Of all the big tournaments that are played worldwide, I think a Major set-up like they have at The Open suits him the most, and he will be targeting that next year to try and get a second Major on his CV.


“That’s the kind of test that will suit him because he has got a heart of a lion and links golf in general is not really about big hitting, unlike a tournament such as the DP World Tour Championship.

“Graeme is not realistically going to win a tournament like that in Dubai, but I look at the Open Championship and think that’s a tournament that he could be victorious in. I’m a great believer in ‘horses for courses’.”

McDowell’s first and last Major win was at the U.S Open in 2010. Now a decade on, perhaps it could be the time for him to repeat this feat and get his fifth Ryder Cup call-up too? Time will tell.

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