Graeme McDowell is boldly predicting more ‘Irish Magic’ when he joins the European Ryder Cup Team jetting-out to Wisconsin next Monday. It will be McDowell’s sixth Ryder Cup showing but a second in succession that he’ll travel without his golf clubs in acting as a European Team vice-captain.
McDowell’s leadership skills really came to the fore three years ago as a vice-captain under Thomas Bjorn’s victorious Versailles leadership with McDowell almost certain to be handed the Ryder Cup captaincy for 2027 at Adare Manor. And while McDowell’s focus this week will be on contesting a Dutch Open for a first time in 14-years, ‘GMac’ is already excited about helping fellow Irishman Padraig Harrington and his 12-man team to retain the Ryder Cup.
“I had my Apple watch on yesterday in playing a practice round here and the watch kept blowing-up with so many text messages coming-in,” said McDowell. “We’ve got information coming from the captain and the other vice-captains on stats we’ve been working on and also, now we have the 12 players selected. It’s exciting stuff.
“We’re working on the team chemistry, the pairings, working on our strategy with regards to what we want to do heading into Friday. It’s all exciting and while I wish I was playing, the next best thing is to be part of the captaincy, that back-room staff.
“So, I’m excited and excited to be jumping on the charter flight on Monday morning with the guys. It’s just going to be a special week and something I have great memories with.
“It’s why I am really looking forward to heading to Whistling Straits, so it will be nice to play well this week and then take my competitive golfer hat off and put my vice-captain’s hat on and try and do the best job I can for Team Europe.”
And with four Irish aboard the flight to Milwaukee in Harrington and McDowell along with team members Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry, McDowell is predicting a big week for ‘Team Ireland’.
“We have been very lucky with the Irish players to have great affinity with the Ryder Cup,” said McDowell who holed the winning putt at the 2010 Ryder Cup in Wales.
“With Padraig being captain, it just continues that affinity while it’s great to have Rory and Shane on the team while I will be there myself as a vice-captain, so I can add some things to the team, as well.
“With what Leona Maguire achieved a few weeks ago at the Solheim Cup, we will be looking next week to continue that Irish tradition with team competition. So, hopefully we can draw inspiration from what she achieved as a rookie, and I am sure Shane will be looking at that and trying to duplicate that.
“Shane is one of my very good friends and I think he’s a fantastic match-play player, and I think he can have a great Ryder Cup as a rookie.
“It goes without saying how great a player Rory is. I think both Rory and Shane will bring a lot to the team and like I say, I hope we can create some more Irish magic at this Ryder Cup.”
McDowell is among six Irish teeing-up on the Bernardus course, located around 110 klms to the south-east of Amsterdam and hosting the event that was first played in 1912 for an inaugural occasion.
“I had to get onto the European Tour website to find out the last time I played the Dutch Open and that was in 2004, so here we are 17-years later,” he said in sharing ninth place at Hilversumsche.
“Firstly, I am really delighted to be here and secondly in seeing the facilities here at the Bernardus club it is probably one of the best practice facilities we’ve ever seen as the chipping area, the practice putting green and the driving range are just five-star.
“Kyle Phillips, who designed Kingsbarns Links in Scotland, has done a spectacular job here and I’m just delighted to come here and be rewarded for the commitment with an amazing golf course. I’m also looking forward to competing this week and being a part of the tournament.”
DUTCH OPEN – IRISH TEE TIMES (Irish time)
- 6.56am – Cormac Sharvin
- 7.07am – James Sugrue
- 11.52am – Niall Kearney
- 12.03pm – Paul Dunne
- 12.36pm – Graeme McDowell
- 12.47pm – Gavin Moynihan
- Full tee times HERE