NOT since Tony Jacklin in 1970 can European golf, let alone British golf, boast a US Open champion.
But now, after Graeme McDowell’s out-of-this-world performance at Pebble Beach at the weekend, the monkey is finally off its back.
G-Mac as he affectionately known as one of the most popular members of both Tours either side of the water, showed grit, determination and a whole lot of bottle to cap the greatest day of his life.
Shooting 74 on the final day of a Major isn’t spectacular, but in those conditions, which accounted for the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and overnight leader Dustin Johnson, who ended up with an 82, it proved a tremendous match-winning effort.
Indeed, the fact that Woods and Mickelson came in behind him at the top of the leaderboard, will make victory all the sweeter for McDowell in joining the elite band of Major winners. Typically, all eyes were on Woods, who looked scrappy at times, yet he showed enough in his tie for fourth place, with Mickelson, that he’s on his way back to his best.
Not only does McDowell’s victory put him on top of the Race to Dubai for the first time, but it also makes him a nailed-on choice for Colin Montgomerie’s Ryder Cup team.
He was an unsung hero for the Europeans at Valhalla in 2008, and with performances like that, he’ll be one guy the Americans will not want face at Celtic Manor this autumn.
As for me, I was disappointed with my tie for 22nd at the Welsh Open at Royal Porthcawl at the weekend.
It just didn’t happen for me out there but I’m looking to putting that right at the PGA Seniors Championship at Slaley Hall, starting Thursday.
FACTFILE | GRAEME MCDOWELL
Born 30 July 1979 in Portrush, N Ireland
Turned pro 2002
Tournament wins 6: US?Open (2010), Wales Open (2010), Scottish Open (2008), Ballantine’s Championship (2008), Telecom Italia Open (2004), Volvo Scandinavia Masters (2002)
Major wins 1: US?Open (2010)
Race to Dubai ranking 1