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Vice-captain Graeme McDowell still has hopes of playing in another Ryder Cup

·3 min read

Graeme McDowell has already expressed an interest in becoming Ryder Cup captain, but the former US Open champion has not given up hope of a fifth playing appearance beforehand.

McDowell revealed during the BMW PGA Championship that he would love to captain the European side at Adare Manor in 2027, by which time he will be 48 years old.

However, the Northern Irishman believes being part of Europe’s bid to retain the trophy at Whistling Straits will fuel his determination to make the team for Rome in 2023, after an absence of nine years.

“It’s been weird,” McDowell said. “When I won the Saudi International in 2020 and I was starting to play well, I had a wee head of steam going and my dream of playing a Ryder Cup again was very much alive.

“But we obviously then had the break and, after that, it’s been 15 months of hell for me. I’ve just not played well at all.

“But it throws a little bit of gas on the fire. I will go to Whistling Straits knowing I can still compete out here. I have to believe that or there is no point being out here. I’ve spent the last couple of months trying to help myself understand that I am good enough to be out here and play on another Ryder Cup team.

“There’s no reason why not. Look at Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Phil Mickelson. I’ve had very few injuries in my career – I’ve had a little bit of a forearm issue the last couple of months – but the only thing that holds you back is the brain.

Graeme McDowell
Graeme McDowell plays a shot from a bunker on the 11th during day three of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth (Steven Paston/PA)

“You just get in your own way. You see these young kids out here bombing it and you think, ‘Man, I’m not good enough any more’.

“You have to start telling a different story and my one is that I am trying to make the team in two years’ time and I will be at Whistling Straits trying to suck in the energy as much as I can.”

McDowell was also a vice-captain under Thomas Bjorn in Paris in 2018 and credits the experience for igniting his interest in becoming captain himself in the future.

Graeme McDowell
Vice-captain Padraig Harrington (left), Paul Casey (centre) and vice-captain Graeme McDowell (right) during practice ahead of the 2018 Ryder Cup (David Davies/PA)

“That was the first time I had a take of the behind-the-scenes feeling of what it takes to get 12 guys together, putting the chemistry together, the pairings, getting the right environment for the guys and the messaging and communication level,” he added.

“We know how they are competitively because you see them out there and you see them on TV, but they can be very different people off the course to what you might imagine.

“Take Poults, for example. If he gets on the team, who do you put him with? There are certain guys that he works well with, but there are certain guys don’t want that because he’s going to be beating his chest and going crazy.

Ian Poulter
File photo dated 27-09-2014 of Europe’s Ian Poulter. Issue date: Sunday September 12, 2021 (Mike Egerton/PA)

“In the nicest possible way, not every player wants that. It’s a fantastic thing, but it doesn’t work for everyone.

“It’s a study in people and professional athletes are very strange people. It takes all sorts of people and that’s what we are working on and it’s really interesting and cool stuff, to be honest.”

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