Edited by Anand Datla
July 01, 2015: Graeme McDowell is looking to become the first player for 77 years to win the Alstom Open de France three years running at Le Golf National this week. Not since Marcel Dallemagne in 1938 has someone lifted Continental Europe’s oldest Open three times in succession, and only five players have ever landed a hat-trick of European Tour titles in the same event – with McDowell hoping to join an illustrious list which currently features Ian Woosnam, Sir Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, Tiger Woods and Ernie Els.
“Having a chance to win a tournament three times in a row is very special,” said the 2010 US Open Champion. “I’ve always enjoyed this golf course, right back in the early days when I would come here.”
Two years ago McDowell romped to an impressive four shot victory, but last season the final round became a war of attrition in tough conditions, with the Northern Irishman’s closing 67 – the joint-lowest round of the final day – enough to see him defend the title when America’s Kevin Stadler missed a short putt on the 18th.
“The two wins were obviously very different,” added McDowell. “You always like to win a tournament, as opposed to be given it to a certain extent. So from that point of view, I guess 2013 was a bit more special than 2014.
“But winning a tournament back to back is also very special. In the aftermath, winning last year was very special to me but in terms of the flavour in which it was won, I would have much rather won in a play-off in the end. But you take what you’re given I suppose.”
Since wife Kristin gave birth to the couple’s first child Vale last year, McDowell admits he has largely failed to live up to his high standards on the golf course. However, the 35 year old believes that there have been signs he has turned a corner with his form in the last month.
Having recorded only one top-ten finish in 2015, McDowell felt his game was starting to come together at the BMW PGA Championship and Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. And McDowell has his family with him in Paris this week as he looks to resume that upward trend after missing the cut in the US Open.
“Really I have to start the ball rolling again and start that momentum gathering,” added the Ryder Cup star. “I feel a lot happier where I am mentally now than where I was four or five months ago. I know I’m good enough and I know that if I keep doing what I’m doing, that things will come back.”
Le Golf National will host The Ryder Cup in 2018, and the man who famously holed the winning putt in 2010 believes his prowess at the venue could help to see him involved.
“I’ll be pushing 40, so at least I’ll perhaps be a good call for an invite for a wild card pick,” continued McDowell. “If I don’t make the team off my own merit, being a little bit of a course specialist around here, certainly I will be expecting to be part of things. I think the fact that The Ryder Cup is coming here in 2018, it legitimises how good this golf course is.”
McDowell’s compatriot and Europe’s current Ryder Cup Captain Darren Clarke also spoke enthusiastically about the venue. “It will be a wonderful venue,” said the former Open champion. “The course itself is such a wonderful test. It’s fair: if you get too aggressive, there’s a lot of water in play and this week, it’s a little bit different because of the dry spell they have had here.”
Follow Us: Twitter.com/GolfingIndian
Join Us: Facebook.com/GolfingIndian
Download Our APP Here