After a sticky 2015 McDowell is on course to prove that class is permanent

Sam Torrance
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The Honda Classic - Final Round
A closing round of 69 on Sunday helped McDowell finish fifth at the Honda Classic (Source: Getty)

Class is forever, form is only temporary. That saying could well be applied to Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell as he continued his resurgence with a strong performance at last week's Honda Classic.

McDowell endured a rocky 2015, during which he missed seven cuts and registered just three top-10 finishes. That run of form resulted in him plummeting to No82 in the world rankings.

But a closing round of 69 on Sunday saw the 36-year-old claim a fifth-placed finish at Palm Beach Gardens, five shots behind winner Adam Scott, and book his place at this week’s WGC Cadillac Championship at Trump Doral.

You’re grasping at straws a bit when you have to finish in the top 10 in order to qualify for next week’s tournament but he’s a former US Open winner and has plenty of craft.

McDowell showed great signs of a return to form in his victory at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in November and followed that up with a third-place finish at the RSM Classic. Coming fifth in Florida maintains that upward trajectory.

I would love to see him in Europe’s Ryder Cup team in September, that’s for sure. He spearheaded the challenge in the singles at Gleneagles two years ago by beating Jordan Spieth, having been three down at one point. That showed he has the heart of a lion.

He also finished things off at Celtic Manor in 2010 by beating Hunter Mahan. McDowell is definitely a man you want on your team. He is a great match player.

Turning to the winner Scott, who won using a short putter and a non-anchored putting stroke for the first time since the Singapore Open in 2010 – a ban on anchored strokes came into effect on 1 January.

He won the Masters in 2013 and topped the world rankings in May the following year using a long putter. I know how hard it would’ve been for him to revert to the short putter but he’s adapted. This result will give him immense confidence.

Let’s not forget Spain’s Sergio Garcia, who finished a shot behind Scott in second. It was a nice finish for Garcia and he is definitely someone else I would like to see in the Ryder Cup team for Hazeltine.

I wrote last week about the mistakes which have crept into Rory McIlroy’s game. Those concerns were escalated when he missed the cut at the Honda Classic. He has plenty of events before the Masters in April and I’m not overly worried about his form. I’m sure he’ll get it right soon, although there are some niggling problems which need resolving.

Finally, a word on South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen and his victory at the Perth International on Sunday. Coupled with Scott, these guys have two of the classiest swings in golf. It’s always pleasing to see someone who swings a club so well winning.

Sam Torrance OBE is a multiple Ryder Cup-winning golfer and media commentator. Follow him on Twitter @torrancesam

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