GMac: I can win more majors
Graeme McDowell is already harbouring thoughts of adding to his newly won US Open crown.
Graeme McDowell was adapting to life as a major champion on Monday and already harbouring thoughts of adding to his newly won US Open crown.
The 30-year-old from Portrush, Northern Ireland was set to make his debut as a late-night chat show guest in the United States with an appearance on the Jay Leno show, a day after the most important victory of his career to date.
McDowell had won the US Open and a US dollars 1.35m first prize at Pebble Beach Golf Links by one stroke from France’s Gregory Havret, emulating four golfing greats as winners of the championship at the revered California course.
“To win at Pebble Beach, to join the names – Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Tom Kite, Tiger Woods…me,” McDowell said with a shrug of the shoulders, “Wow.
“I’m not quite sure if I belong in that list, but, hey, I’m there now and it’s a pretty amazing feeling.
“But I’d take a major championship anywhere on the planet, I didn’t really care.”
Having won one major, the European Ryder Cup star said his mindset going into future ones would be radically altered.
“I think the confidence that you get from winning golf tournaments is something that you can’t replace and something that you can’t buy,” he said.
“And to win a major championship, I mean, I dreamt of winning majors, I always have, and until you do it once…
“I’ve let a few go. I had opportunities to contend and never just quite got it done. I think my best finish in a major was 10th (in the 2009 USPGA at Hazeltine) up until this point.
“And to do it once and to learn how to do it and to know that deep down that you’ve got the mind and the game to get it across the line, there’s no doubt I will take an unbelievable amount of confidence away from this week and I’ll be looking forward to my future and I certainly will believe that I’m good enough to win more major championships.
“To win one is special, but when I sober up I’ll certainly be thinking about winning more of these things.”
McDowell had held his nerve to par the famous par-five 18th at Pebble Beach for victory, having seen Havret miss a birdie putt that would have piled the pressure on the Northern Irishman, and he said he was more than satisfied with the way he closed the deal.
“I had an opportunity to go for 18 in two, but made the decision not to do that when he didn’t make four and it was a nice easy five in the end, which was thankfully no drama,” he continued.
“I’m just very proud of the way I handled myself this week, and I just can’t believe I have major champion after my name from now on. It’s a special feeling.”
McDowell’s chance to win a second major will come next month on another revered course in the Open Championship at St Andrews and he is relishing the opportunity, having shot a 62 on the Old Course at the 2004 Dunhill Links Championship and finished tied for 11th at the 2005 Open.
“St Andrews has been a course that’s been good to me, it’s a special place,” McDowell said.
“To go there as US Open champion and with an opportunity to win another major is going to be cool.
“But majors are tough to win, there’s no doubt about it. I still can’t believe that I’m sitting here a champion this week.
“There are so many great players in the world and golf courses are set up so difficult nowadays, especially here at the US Open.
“I’ll be looking forward to St Andrews immensely. It’s a golf course I know really well.
“It’s all about course knowledge and local knowledge, and at St Andrews you’ve got to know every bump and hump and roll in the greens.
“There’s no doubt I’ll take an amazing amount of confidence from this week. To know that I have the ability to get one of these across the line, especially to know that I have the peace of mind to feel as calm and as confident as I did coming down the stretch today.
“I played the back nine in three over but this is Pebble Beach, it’s the US Open and it’s not easy.
“I was glad I was able to do what it took.”
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