Monday, December 7
Tiger’s Stand-in Earns Masters Invitation
Editor’s note: Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a regular contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following piece is excerpted from his blog, Irish Golf Desk.
By Brian Keogh
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF
GRAEME MCDOWELL SURGED BACK into the world’s top 50 and secured an early Masters invitation when he finished a stroke behind Jim Furyk in the $5.75 million Chevron World Challenge. Standing in for absent host Tiger Woods, McDowell needed to hole his second shot at Sherwood’s 18th to tie with Furyk, who posted a final round 67 to set the 13-under par target.
The Ulsterman failed by six feet but certainly gave Furyk a fright as he rifled his approach at the flag and eventually tapped in for a closing birdie and a round of 70.
With world ranking points on offer for the first time, McDowell moved from 55th to 38th and can start booking his hotel accommodation in Augusta. (Rory McIlroy, incidentally, slipped out of the top 10 to 11th with Padraig Harrington remaining fifth.)
No, McDowell wasn’t too disappointed to step in for an under-siege Woods at the last minute.
“It was such a bonus to get in here, and obviously the circumstances, we all know why,” McDowell said. “You know, it was a bit of a blow for the event, but like I said, I feel very fortunate to be here, and to play as well as I have been playing.
“This year has been a funny year for me. I just feel like I started to play good the last few months, and I was running out of tournaments really, and it was nice to add another great tournament like this on the schedule and to play as well as I did, very satisfying. And the boost up the world rankings is obviously just huge for me really.
“It’s been a frustrating year. I’ve got nothing out of all the work I’ve put in, and in a funny way this kind of puts a bit of a shine on it and gives me a little something back for all my hard work this year.”
Graeme McDowell Web site
McDowell racks up style points
2010 Masters field (as of 11/16/09)
Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.