Saturday 3 December 2016

I've taken eye off ball, says busy dad and golf star Graeme McDowell

Published 16/09/2016 | 09:22

Graeme McDowell with his wife Kristin Stape after the birth of son Wills Edson
Graeme McDowell with his wife Kristin Stape after the birth of son Wills Edson
New arrival: Graeme McDowell and wife Kristin Stape
Graeme McDowell pulling a pint of Guinness in one of his Florida-based Nona Blue Taverns

Golf star Graeme McDowell has admitted that he hasn't been fully focused over the last couple of years on the sport that made him a multi-millionaire.

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Speculation that the Major winner was planning to step back from the professional game increased this week when he opened his second Nona Blue Tavern in Florida.

The launch of the popular Ponte Vedra eatery is the second celebration in as many weeks for 37-year-old G-Mac and his wife Kristin, who welcomed their baby boy Wills Edson into the world on August 29. McDowell even gave the Olympics a miss this year so that he could be on call for a summons into the labour ward.

Florida native Kristin (35), an interior designer, gave birth to the couple's first child - daughter Vale Esme - in August 2014. Although the 2010 US Open winner sees his future as a restaurateur, with his ambition to open Nona Blues all over the US, the father-of-two insisted he hadn't given up on golf just yet. "Life's been a real distraction for me for all the right reasons in the last couple of years," said G-Mac, who has slumped to 78 in the world rankings having once been a fixture in the top 10.

Graeme McDowell and his wife Kristin
Graeme McDowell and his wife Kristin

"I've gotten married, had two children and opened two restaurants."

McDowell also told guests at the launch - who paid $15,000 in tips for charity - how hurt he was at being dropped from the Ryder Cup team captained by pal Darren Clarke.

"The Ryder Cup, not being on that team, that's going to hurt, sitting on my couch and watching, but I'm going to watch every shot and it'll motivate me to get back there," he said.

Clarke said he put form before friendship in his decision to omit McDowell for this month's showdown with the USA at Hazeltine, Minnesota.

Last month McDowell took a swing at golf after Nike - which sponsors his compatriot Rory McIlroy - confirmed that the company will stop making golf equipment.

"There's no doubt the game needs to be faster, it needs to be cooler and it needs to be sexier," he said.

"We need to get the young people involved, we need to really take the elitism away from the sport."

In addition to his restaurants, the doting daddy and budding businessman also has his own beer brand - G-Mac's Celtic Style Pale Ale.

Belfast Telegraph

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