Graeme McDowell sets sights on Ryder Cup

May 19, 2016

Graeme McDowell knows all too well his goal of qualifying automatically for a fifth straight Ryder Cup later this year hinges on competing this season in all four Majors.

Unfortunately, McDowell has not yet qualified for July’s British Open at Royal Troon and where in 2004 he made his debut in golf’s oldest Major.

It is the first occasion McDowell has started a new season not being exempt into the British Open since 2010 and on the back of earning a five-year exemption in winning earlier that year the US Open at Pebble Beach.

However, McDowell, who tees-up in Thursday’s Irish Open at the K. Club south of Dublin, still has a number of lifelines available to him if he’s to join the field for the July 14 start to the 145th Open.

Firstly, a strong showing at this week’s Irish Open would lift the current world number 68 inside the top 50 and see him qualify given there will be a cut-off point this Sunday night.

Secondly, McDowell would gain a three-year British Open exemption should he capture next week’s PGA Championship at Wentworth but then in an event he’s finished no higher than tied-13th in 12 appearances.

Also McDowell would qualify if he captures a second US Open title from June 16 at Oakmont.

And lastly, and what McDowell sees as his best chance of being at Royal Troon, is if he should be in among the leading five PGA Tour members, not exempt in the top 20 on the PGA Tour’s FedEx points list at the completion of the 2016 Quicken Loans National on June 26 he will qualify.

Currently, McDowell is placed 14th on the table but when you remove those already into the British Open, he’s lying second.

“It’s important that I am there competing in The Open if I am to qualify for the Ryder Cup as the four Majors are where the big points are,” he said.

“That's going to be my way into the European team via the world ranking points.

“I haven't missed an Open Championship since 2004 whereas my caddie has not missed an Open Championship since about '93."

He added: "If I play the way I feel like I can play the next four or five weeks, maybe get myself in the top 50 anyway.

“So we'll see as I want to be at Troon. That's a very key part of the summer and wanting to be there, because I want to play France, Scotland and the British, as well. So I'll be looking to be there.”

He’s currently lying 14th on the European Ryder Cup points list and declared his determination to qualify automatically rather than have to rely on a 'captain's’ pick'.

“I don’t want to be a pick, for sure,” he said.

“But then with so many great young players coming through, looking at Andy Sullivan, Matt Fitzpatrick, Shane Lowry and Danny Willett the veterans, as such, are not really performing the way they need to be, myself included, Poults (Ian Poulter) and Westy (Lee Westtwood) and Luke (Donald) and guys like that.

“We've got our stable of Rory (McIlroy) and (Henrik) Stenson and Justin (Rose) playing well, and a few of us have got to get our act together."