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McDowell hails main
US Open Champion Graeme McDowell competing in Austria this weekend (Getty Images)

McDowell hails ‘special’ European Team

US Open champion Graeme McDowell has hailed 2010 as a ‘special year’ for European golf and believes Europe have every chance of regaining The Ryder Cup from the United States next month.

By Sarah Gwynn, europeantour.com

The Northern Irishman is playing in the Austrian GolfOpen presented by Botarin this week to sharpen up his game following a four-week break, and he would love to continue the fine run of form shown by members of the European Ryder Cup team of late.

The last five events on The European Tour International Schedule have been won by a player from Captain Colin Montgomerie’s Team, with Martin Kaymer winning last week’s KLM Open, Miguel Angel Jiménez clinching the Omega European Masters, Edoardo Molinari triumphing at the Johnnie Walker Championship, Peter Hanson winning the Czech Open and Kaymer, again, sealing his first Major at the US PGA Championship.

“It would be pretty special to make it six this week,” said McDowell, who has been in the form of his life this season to capture The Celtic Manor Wales Open and the US Open – his first Major title. “That really would be nice to head to Celtic Manor with another win under my belt.

“It’s been an amazing run for the European Team. There are so many guys playing well – obviously a couple of Majors in there, Miguel playing as well as he has been, Edoardo in amazing form this year.  We’ve got a pretty special team and I’m really excited to be going there with these guys. Obviously you never know what will happen in golf but we have a great chance.

“It was disappointing not to win a couple of years ago at The 2008 Ryder Cup over in the States. I played well personally but we didn’t get the job done, so to win in Wales would be pretty cool.”

McDowell is expected to be paired with fellow Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, making his Ryder Cup debut, but the 31 year old does not mind who his partner is.

“Everyone’s obviously going to be talking about me and Rory, and that would make sense,” he said. “But this is a special team and everyone on it is in great form so it’s not important for me who I’m paired with. It’s an exciting team to be part of. It was one of my main goals this season to make it.

“It’s been crazy this year.  It’s been a great year for European Tour golf and this Ryder Cup Team is one of the best ever. There’s been a bit of a changing of the guard in Europe with Rory, Martin Kaymer and me and other guys playing as well as they have been.

“It’s going to be a great Ryder Cup and whatever happens you can’t take anything away from the fact it’s been an amazing season for The European Tour.”

Aside from the last five tournaments on The European Tour, there were some stunning victories earlier in the season for members of the European Team, namely Ian Poulter in the WGC-Accenture Match Play, Ross Fisher at the 3 Irish Open and Luke Donald at the Madrid Masters. Peter Hanson has also won twice, Miguel Angel Jiménez had two earlier victories to add to his win in Switzerland, and Edoardo Molinari clinched The Barclays Scottish Open.

Despite having already won twice to reach second place in the current Race to Dubai standings, McDowell admits it would be perfect to head to Wales as a three-time winner on The European Tour.

“Everyone has been playing so well so it was important for me to to Austria this week and make sure the game is in decent shape for Wales,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is a busy week and it’s difficult to get any work done on your game so it’s important I’m in good shape. To go there with another win would be fantastic.”

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