Team Player

Graeme McDowell's crucial singles' victory over Hunter Mahan at Celtic Manor defined the 2010 Ryder Cup for Europe. Now, after a year in which he's come close to adding a second major title, the Ulsterman is looking to do it all over again, writes Lewine Mair.

McDowell accepted what his captain was saying. He was 3-up on Hunter Mahan after 11 but the American rallied, and by the time they reached the 16th tee, McDowell's advantage had been cut to one. It was by now abundantly clear that if Europe were to win, McDowell's point was a must.

With all the certainty of Tiger in his heyday, he knocked home the 25-footer he needed to go back to two ahead. As that putt fell, so Montgomerie’s face lifted and an almighty roar rang through the Welsh valleys.

Mahan, after losing his way at the short 17th following a duffed chip, would concede McDowell’s five-footer for the hole and match; Europe had put behind the disappointment of Valhalla two years previously to emerge victorious by the most slender of margins.

You would have to think that Olazábal even now has this picture in his mind of McDowell, eyes ablaze, doing for him what he did for Monty.

Regardless of the pain, McDowell would revel in giving a repeat performance.

The McDowell File

DATE OF BIRTH: July 30, 1979
PLACE OF BIRTH: Portrush, Northern Ireland
TURNED PRO: 2002 (plus 4)
MAJOR WINS: 1 (2010 US Open)
RYDER CUP RECORD Played 8: Won 4, Halved 2, Lost 2
ACCOLADES: European Tour Golfer of the Year (2010)


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