Monday 18 December 2017

An inspiration to hungry amateurs on the way up

Graeme McDowell at Pebble Beach. Photo: Getty Images
Graeme McDowell at Pebble Beach. Photo: Getty Images
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

GRAEME McDowell's win will inspire so many.

The high-handicap players with more belly fat than skill will be just that little bit more driven when they play in their version of a golf 'Major' -- the Captain's Prize.

Lean and hungry young amateurs with stars in their eyes and dreams of a successful professional career will rededicate themselves to working hard on their game.

And the Golfing Union of Ireland, which provided the developmental platform for current Tour stars, including McDowell, Padraig Harrington, Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley and Shane Lowry, can take pride in its role.

In short, everyone in Irish golf is a winner, not just Graeme McDowell.

And even those who have no interest in the sport will share the pleasure of seeing an Irishman of humble origins creating international headlines for his marvellous achievement.

Sport is virtually the only source of good news in this era of NAMA and financial scandals and mismanagement. Golf still commands huge television audiences and playing numbers, and despite Tiger Woods's off-course antics, has an unrivalled reputation for fair play and sportsmanship.

Harrington, McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke -- in fact all our top golfers -- are great role models for youngsters.

They may be multi-millionaires but they never forget their roots.

McDowell has been a long-established Tour personality, but when top Irish amateur Alan Dunbar from McDowell's Rathmore golf club won the prestigious Irish Amateur Open championship at Royal Dublin last month, 'Gmac' was among the first to send a congratulatory text.

Dunbar (20), back at Royal Dublin yesterday and playing in the Irish Amateur Close championship, spoke of the inspiration McDowell's win gives to young players. "Graeme's a hero of mine. This is great, not just for our golf club and town, but for the whole of Ireland," he said.

Irish Independent

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