By Paul Myers
One of the most well-liked golfers on the professional tours, Graeme McDowell has put together an impressive resume that has been highlighted thus far by the 2010 U.S. Open title at Pebble Beach. McDowell is accomplished on both sides of the pond, and has been a big part of past Ryder Cups as well – especially in 2010. Even though McDowell has stood out at the international golf level for many years, he is still just 35 and could be a presence for many years ahead.
Not a Power Player
Unlike many of the top golfers in the world today, McDowell doesn’t do it with power at all. In fact, he ranks very near the lower end of the PGA Tour in terms of swing speed average at just 109.77. In a day and age in golf when most players are trying to squeeze every extra yard out of their swing that is possible, McDowell goes a different direction and seems to be satisfied with the modest Tour level power that he has available.
Plenty of Other Skills
Of course, to be as successful as he’s been, he has to excel in other areas of the game. One of those areas is driving accuracy. McDowell hits almost 70% of the fairways he aims at, which places him right among the very best on the Tour. Although he might be a few yards behind many of his playing competitors, he also is hitting in from the short grass instead of the rough more than most players. Building his game on control rather than power can certainly said to have worked beautifully to this point.
Another thing that allows McDowell to excel in the absence of big power is his incredible putting performance. McDowell is commonly thought of by some as one of the best putters in the world, and his ability to hole putts seems to only improve when the pressure is on. Putting is a skill that will never go out of style, and even the longest of hitters may have trouble keeping up with McDowell if they can’t perform on the putting green as well as they do off the tee.
A Perfect Ryder Cup Player
As anyone who has watched match play golf will know, a great putter can be a big asset in a match play situation. That is another thing that makes McDowell such a great player for the European side when the Ryder Cup rolls around every two years. The European captain can place McDowell into the lineup knowing that he is likely to make plenty of putts and keep the pressure on the opposition. If the project was to build a player that would be perfect in the Ryder Cup situation, McDowell’s combination of driving accuracy and putting prowess would be very desirable attributes.
Thanks to an incredibly consistent golf swing and an enviable putting stroke, Graeme McDowell is definitely a player to watch in any event. Given his outgoing and friendly personality as well, he has more than his share of fans and will likely be one of the most-popular members of the European team at the 2014 Ryder Cup.
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