'I'm letting the Irish lads down and they'll probably let me know about that later' - McDowell 1 year ago

'I'm letting the Irish lads down and they'll probably let me know about that later' - McDowell

"You know, we're on the Golf Canada charter (flight) over to Pebble Beach. Maybe a couple brewskis on there."

Brewskis. Graeme McDowell's Americanization (sic) is complete.

The Portrush native finished 2018 was down the world rankings, at 238. This year has seen him revive his fortunes and his steely focus on making The Open field on his hometown course has surely played a huge part to his rise.

There were three qualifying slots going for the open at the RBC Canadian Open and McDowell was in good shape heading into the final round. He began, on Sunday, at -8 and five off the leaders and ended up shooting 68 to finish on -10.

That was pretty decent but the former US Open winner was not the only man eclipsed by red-hot Rory McIlroy, who shot 61 to finish on -22.

Still, McDowell ended tied 8th and he spoke afterwards about his nervy finish, and his stunning 30-foot putt on the final hole. He told reporters:

"When I missed the fairway on 17 and didn't make 4 there I was pretty despondent walking to the 18th tee. I knew that 18, it's such is difficult tee shot and I didn't hit a very good one.

"Left myself no pitch shot. My caddie is trying to do the math as we walk up to 18 green. He's thinking 5 may be good enough. Basically said, don't mess around with a chip shot. Give yourself a look at 4. We did that, and, man, it was... The putt was not makeable, no. I

"It had 12 feet of break on it. It was ridiculously tough putt to make. [I] just fancied it, I saw it, liked the way it looked, and when I saw it go in it was a huge relief."

Missing that putt would have ended up seeing McDowell tied for 10th and up against three others - based on world ranking points - for that coveted slot at The Open, next month.

Job done, however, and the home crowd will get right behind him as he chases the Claret Jug.

McIlroy said, after his win, that he had been watching the leaderboard closely all day. Not for himself, more to see how his old mate 'G Mac' was getting on. As for McDowell, he raved about his fellow Northern Irishman's form:

"Rory has had a huge amount of focus this year. Really feel like he's in a different place mentally than ever before in his career. Awesome to see him out there doing Rory-like things getting himself ready for next week at Pebble.

"Proud of him. Great to see him and Shane up there. Just feel like I let the side down a little bit by finishing 9th or whatever I am going to finish. I'm letting the Irish lads down, and they'll probably let me know about that later I would imagine."

Asked by one reporter what made Ireland such a good country for producing so many quality golfers, per head of capita, McDowell responded, "The game of golf is very cheap and accessible in Ireland. I think that's the only really way I can sort of quantify it.

"Lots of clubs with great junior programs. It's cheap. I would've never played the game of golf if it had been expensive. We wouldn't have been able to afford to do it.

"It was cheap, accessible, lots of kids doing it. Clubs are very welcoming. Great conditions, great golf courses, hard conditions, weather. Toughens you up a little bit."