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McIlroy: McDowell heroics spurring me on

Two months ago it was Graeme McDowell hoping to be inspired by what Rory McIlroy was doing.

Now the roles are reversed. While McIlroy has missed the cut in the first two majors of the season, his fellow Northern Irishman is basking in the glory of being crowned the new US Open champion.

McDowell comes out to play again next week at the Scottish Open, but McIlroy is in Paris for the Alstom French Open, which starts today at Le Golf National.

"I have played a lot with G-Mac over the years, and to see what he has done lifts me," said world number 10 McIlroy, whose first US win came at the Quail Hollow Championship just before his 21st birthday in May.

"If G-Mac can win the US Open the way he did, I've played with him enough week in, week out to know that I can go out on any given week and do the same thing. I caught up with him last week. There was a big party for him, and then he came down to our house and stayed with us and we played a game at Royal County Down.

"He is still buzzing from it. He's gone back to Orlando to get some practice in before the Scottish Open and the Open. It's a fantastic time for European golf, and British and Irish golf in particular.

"I don't want to be the only Irishman on the Ryder Cup team without a major (Padraig Harrington has three).

"The first two majors have been a disappointment, but I feel my game is nearly there and have done a lot of good work on my swing. We all know St Andrews well from playing the Dunhill (McIlroy was third there in 2007, just after turning professional, and runner-up last October). It will be playing a bit different, bouncier and more fiery, but the Europeans will have a good chance."

McIlroy is one of four of the world's top 10 players in this week's field, alongside Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Ian Poulter.

But Westwood and Poulter were both making a late decision on whether they were fit enough to play.

A worried-looking Westwood went to hospital yesterday afternoon after being told that swelling in his right calf and ankle might be a blood clot.

But, after he underwent further tests, management spokesman Stuart Cage said: "The doctor has decided there is no DVT (deep vein thrombosis) or blood clot and that the problem has something to do with a reaction to the heat."

Poulter has also had swelling in his right leg, but that was caused by a reaction to an insect bite -- thought to be a horse fly -- while practising at Woburn on Monday.

Both had afternoon tee-off times in the first round.


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