McDowell Takes Down A Tiger

Graeme McDowell sank two clutch putts to close out his 2010 season and Tiger Woods on Sunday
Graeme McDowell sank two clutch putts to close out his 2010 season and Tiger Woods on Sunday

No matter what Graeme McDowell does in golf in the future he will always have an amazing 2010 season to look back on.

On Sunday the reigning United States Open Champion capped a life-changing year with yet another win, this one a triumph of the greatest player in the game today, Tiger Woods.  And in his own arena, no less.

Woods, the leader by four after three rounds, was faltering in the 4th and final round of the Chevron World Challenge being played in Thousand Oaks, California, and McDowell, the European Ryder Cup hero, jumped on the opportunity as he has done so many times in 2010.

Clutch birdie putts on the final hole in regulation and a repeat performance on the same hole in a playoff capped the win and a dream season for McDowell who was elated with his clutch actions.

“Tiger stuffs it in there in real time, and I didn’t hit a particularly good 9-iron there (the 72nd hole) but gave myself a 20-foot look at it and poured it right in the middle. It was pretty amazing.  To come back and do the exact same thing in the playoff was pretty sensational. Those are probably two of the greatest putts I’ve made. Holed a couple of nice putts this year, but they were certainly up there.”

And as for having Woods be the guy he was taking down for the win; that made it all the more significant for the former University of Alabama-Birmingham student.  “To play the weekend alongside Tiger, you know, it’s a pretty special feeling to go out there four back and do the job. He was a little cold on the greens today, and I got off to a good start and gave myself the opportunities.   It feels pretty amazing.”

Even in losing out on his last chance for a win in 2010, Tiger takes a lot from a week where he looked a lot more comfortable with recent swing changes.  “It was a great week, even though I didn’t win. Today was — I’m proud of today even though I lost,” an upbeat Woods commented in the media room.

This was the first time Tiger has ever lost a pro event when leading by at least three shots heading into the final round but it is impossible to say whether that is just a sign of Tiger in the midst of a comeback or a new trend that will continue for years to come.

Graeme McDowell won’t be one to speculate on that question as he has had to deal with his own struggles through the years.  Apparently, based on his 2010 performances, he is finding a groove of his own.

“I’ve had an up and down career. Plenty of ups and plenty of downs. I’ve always figured myself as a pretty fast learner. I’ve learned a lot from my down times, from my hard years. I’ve worked very hard the last three or four years and made some big decisions in my life, caddies and management and equipment companies. I feel like I earned my stripes a little bit, and I felt like a year like this one has been coming. Obviously the script this year has been pretty amazing. I didn’t quite foresee it being this amazing.”

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