WIN, lose or draw, Graeme McDowell would still have walked away from Celtic Manor on Monday celebrating the greatest year of his life.
It was the year the 31-year-old burst into the world’s top 20 for the first time with a maiden Major victory in the US Open at Pebble Beach in June.
The Northern Irishman also won the Wales Open at Celtic Manor and is now many people’s favourite to be named BBC Sports Personality of the Year in December.
Yet McDowell claims nothing comes close to the nerves he felt when walking down the back nine in the final Ryder Cup singles match with Hunter Mahan, which ultimately proved decisive in handing Europe a 14?-13? victory.
“I have never been that nervous before,” reflected the man affectionately known as G-Mac. “It was the most difficult nine holes of golf of my life – it made the US Open back nine feel like playing with my dad at Royal Portrush.
“I hoped I wasn’t going to be needed. I was hoping my caddie would give me the nod [that the side had won].
“I imagined winning and losing in the same breath. That’s just the way golf is – there are good times and bad times, great shots and bad shots. That is what makes this game so great.”