Friday 21 October 2016

McDowell hails young blood

Published 13/04/2015 | 17:36

Graeme McDowell, pictured, believes Rory McIlroy will face several young rivals
Graeme McDowell, pictured, believes Rory McIlroy will face several young rivals

Graeme McDowell believes Jordan Spieth may not be the only rival Rory McIlroy has to face as he looks to complete the career grand slam and add more majors to his collection.

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McIlroy's fourth place in the Masters is his best finish in seven appearances, while his 12 under par total was 12 shots better than last year and beat his previous best by eight shots.

But the world number one never threatened to claim a first green jacket to become only the sixth player in history to win all four major titles and saw Spieth follow up his second place at Augusta 12 months ago with a record-breaking victory.

"There are a lot of potential eras evolving," McDowell said. "Guys like Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed. I feel like the young blood is certainly strong here in the States as opposed to the rest of the world. I feel like they certainly have the young potential coming through and it's very good for the game.

"When you look at Ryder Cups I think it makes it very interesting for them. I think our nucleus remains the same going forward but they have a lot of potential young blood coming through which could really change the shape of their team.

"Jordan and Rory are very difficult to compare because they are so different. I think it's a good thing to see a guy coming through who is not Dustin or Rory, guys like that who are dominating with physicality.

"We see a guy coming around who is average build, average size, hits it average distance. He's not short but he's not the longest player on the planet and he gets it done other ways. That's exciting."

Spieth was ranked 44th in driving distance with an average of 282 yards, with Johnson (315 yards) top and McIlroy seventh at 297 yards.

"Rory's comparable to Tiger but I don't think Jordan is necessarily comparable to Tiger because of the way he plays the game," McDowell added. "I think Jordan is more comparable to a (Jack) Nicklaus or someone like that which is pretty cool."

McIlroy added: " I played well. I can take a lot of positives from it. It is my best ever finish here. I played the last 45 holes in 15 under par. I did a lot of things I wanted to do.

"I played the par‑fives well (14 under). Just left myself too much to do after 27 holes of this golf tournament. Forty on the front nine on Friday, that really left me with an uphill battle. It was just great to get in for the weekend and made the most of a great finish on Friday."

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