Monday 22 January 2018

McDowell remains stout-hearted

GRAEME McDOWELL sure has revelled in the atmosphere at Olympic, especially the support he has received from a massive number of fans from the Emerald Isle.

"I think there's more Irish men here than in Ireland," he quipped.

McDowell then uttered the quote of US Open week when asked what the fans had shouted at him. "There were plenty of references to Guinness or drinking pints," he responded, shaking his head with mock concern. "People are stereotyping me. They're under the illusion that I like a good cold beer!"

Then he chuckled and said: "The fans really keep me going and we've got some really good friends in this town. I might have a couple of cold pints of Guinness in Johnny Foley's with them on Sunday night, if things go well. And if they don't, I'll probably do the same thing!"

Cool $1.4m prize for

US Open winner

THE purse for this year's US Open was unveiled over the weekend. For the second year in succession, the prize fund stands at $8m with the winner receiving the same $1.440m cheque as Rory McIlroy at Congressional last June. Yet this is $90,000 greater than Graeme McDowell's $1.35m first prize at Pebble Beach in 2010.

Harrington finds a

new mutual friend

IT really is a small world.

Padraig Harrington played yesterday's final round with Hunter Hamrick, a 22-year-old American making his first appearance in a Major at Olympic. Indeed, he only decided to turn professional after coming through US Open qualifying.

Not much common ground there, you might imagine.

Wrong! Hamrick was, until recently, a college team-mate of top Irish amateur Paul Dunne from Greystones at the University of Alabama, Birmingham -- Graeme McDowell's alma mater. Indeed, Dunne and Hamrick (above) played together in the NCAA Championships just a fortnight back. The paths of Harrington and Dunne crossed during clinics the three-times Major champion regularly gives to Ireland's elite amateurs.

Red, white and blue

brigade annoy Lowry

SHANE LOWRY succinctly said what many Irish golf enthusiasts may have felt as they hunkered down to watch the US Open come to a climax on Sky at the weekend.

As Lee Westwood surged into contention in a tie for fourth place with Saturday's superb third round 67, Lowry (above) tweeted: "Here we go now. Sky won't stop talking sh**e about Westwood for the next 24 hours."

The sad thing about the 'Red, White and Blue' tinted spectacles worn by some (but certainly not all) Sky golf commentators is that they risk colouring the opinion of neutrals towards splendid performers -- like Westwood.

For example, when Lowry was asked, as a pro, how he rates the Worksop star, he tweeted: "Probably the best tee-to-green player out there at the minute.

Again, on Saturday evening, he explained: "I tipped Westwood from the start and still think he can do it ... but obviously want GMac to win."

Furyk laughs off

'plodder' remark

HOW typical -- 48 hours after describing Jim Furyk as 'a plodder', Graeme McDowell ends up tied for the lead with the ever-steady American and playing with him in the final group in yesterday's final round.

McDowell was at pains to explain over the weekend that the word had been uttered with the greatest respect.

Furyk smiled: "I don't know what his definition is but Graeme actually saw me in the locker room and said 'I don't know what they told you in the press room but I meant everything as a compliment and didn't want it to come across the wrong way'.

"I joked that I'd said some nice stuff about him but if I needed to retract it, I could always go back," added the 2003 US Open-winner.

"I like Graeme a lot and have a lot of respect for him and his game. I enjoy playing with him. Does that answer your question?"

Later asked what it is about his game which makes him so good at this event, Furyk quipped: "I'm a plodder!"

Irish Independent

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