Hanafin pays tribute to US Open champ McDowell
Sports Minister Mary Hanafin has led tributes to US Open winner Graeme McDowell.
The Portrush native became the first Irishman in history to take the prestigious title, and the first European in 40 years.
Ms Hanafin said McDowell had put in several stunning rounds as he became only the third golfer from Ireland to win a major, following Padraig Harrington and Fred Daly.
"Graeme put in a stunning performance throughout the weekend and managed to lead or share the lead for the final two days of the tournament," the minister said.
"Being the first European in 40 years and the first Irishman ever to win this prestigious major title is a marvellous achievement for Graeme and is a testament to his dedication, commitment and the long hours of practice put in by professional golfers.
"Well done Graeme, your victory has lifted the spirits of Irish people and I am sure will add to the excitement for golfers as they look forward to the Ryder Cup in Wales in October."
Ms Hanafin added: "Graeme's victory at the US Open golf places him among the icons of golf such as Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Hale Irwin and Ernie Els."