One thing is certain and that is Graeme McDowell will be headed with the European Team to this year’s rescheduled Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. What we don’t know at this stage, with seven months of the qualification period remaining, is whether McDowell will be traveling to Wisconsin with his golf clubs.
‘G Mac’, who turns 42 in July, has played in four Ryder Cups including holing the winning putt at the 2010 renewal at Celtic Manor in Wales, though he’s failed to qualify in both 2016 and 2018.
Two years ago, he was one of Thomas Bjorn’s winning Versailles vice-captains and by all accounts did a damn good job, so much so he would seem a ‘shoe-in’ to also join fellow Irishman Padraig Harrington’s backroom team, and also act as a vice-captain at the 2023 and 2025 Ryder Cup before being appointed to lead Europe, so appropriately, at Adare Manor in 2027. However, McDowell naturally harbours thoughts of travelling to Wisconsin with his clubs as he revealed ahead of his defence of this week’s Saudi International.
“The Ryder Cup is a priority, of course it is. Because if I can get myself on the team at Whistling Straits, it means I’ve achieved the things I want to achieve this year,” he said
“Playing well, winning tournaments, competing in the big events, winning big events. I’m in the frame, so I have to believe that I’m good enough to play and I do believe that I’m good enough to play. I don’t like using the word rebuild because I’m not really rebuilding. I feel I’ve hit a lot of balls the last couple months. I’m moving back in the right direction.”
Ahead of teeing-up along the Red Sea shoreline, McDowell is lying well down in 30th place on the ‘European’ points standing but then as we saw a year ago in Saudi Arabia, it only takes one good week and how things do change.
“The Ryder Cup is a massive priority, of course. I’d love to be part of the team. It would be a massive dream to be on the team,” he said. “My long game is really not bad at all and it’s just a case, I’m really just not making enough birdies right now. It’s one part technique and it’s one part mental. It’s a little bit of a need to get more aggressive, need to just hit the ball a little closer to the flag and obviously get hot with a putter.”
McDowell will be looking for a repeat of his success last year having sat out the weekend rounds both in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.