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McGinley's Ryder Cup decision helped McDowell conquer doubts

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Paul McGinley and Graeme McDowell

Paul McGinley and Graeme McDowell

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Paul McGinley and Graeme McDowell

An act of faith by Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley has had a profound effect on one of the central characters in Europe's victory at Gleneagles.

On the eve of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, Graeme McDowell credited McGinley for helping him recommit to the core strengths that made him a Major champion and which he believes can return him to the heady heights of his 2010 US Open success.

Four years ago, G-Mac clocked up four wins on either side of the Atlantic and clinched victory for Europe at Celtic Manor in a dream season.

He successfully defended the French Open title in 2014 but even though he didn't attain the same stellar heights as four years ago, he says "professionally, I'd hope to edge" a notional 72-hole showdown with the 2010 version of himself.

"Personally it'd not even be a contest," adds McDowell, married last year and recently blessed with baby daughter Vale. "With all the other things that go with the game of golf, I'm in a much, much better place these days."

If 2010 was "a steep learning curve," McDowell described the next two years as a "little bit of a hangover" period as he adjusted to his new position in the world game, while "2013 and 2014 were a realisation of the fact that I deserve to be here".

"The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles gave me huge amounts of belief after a period where I'd started to doubt myself, getting obsessed about the long-hitters and getting away from what I do well, wedge play and putting," he added.

"The realisation set in before the Ryder Cup that I needed to get back to what I do well, not what Rory McIlroy or Dustin Johnson do.

"But when a deep-thinking guy like Paul McGinley, who had so many options in his team, selected me to be a leader, it brought it home to me that I've come a long way in the sport and became part of my new motivation to do more.

"It's the first time I was asked to be more than a player. I was asked to be a bit of a leader to a rookie and to lead the team off on Sunday, it was huge for me."

Irish Independent