Nerves were bad – G-Mac
4:10pm Tuesday 5th October 2010 in Sport
WALES Open winner Graeme McDowell revealed he had never been so nervous as when he stood on the 17th tee with victory for Europe in the Ryder Cup depending on him.
But he held his nerve amid scenes of great euphoria and afterwards he even had sympathy for opponent Hunter Mahan whose ‘duffed’ chip virtually handed him victory, the American visibly upset and barely able to speak at an emotional Press conference more than an hour after the finish.
Twice he fought back tears and senior teammate Phil Mickelson had to come to his rescue by taking the microphone from him.
“I looked up at the 10th green and realised that things were really tight and the chances were that the last matches were going to come into play,” said McDowell.
“Obviously I hoped that I wasn’t going to be needed, but at that point I got extremely nervous and coming down the stretch there I’ve never felt nerves like it in my life.
“I was out there trying to win it for me, for my 11 teammates, for Colin, for Europe and for all of those fans out there. It was a different level to what Pebble Beach (scene of his US Open triumph) was and, you know, this is why this golf tournament is extremely special and will continue to be one of the greatest, probably the greatest golf event on the planet.
“I’m sure Hunter was disappointed. He played great, we actually had a great match. It was a funny atmosphere out there, it was very flat for 12 or 13 holes and then all of a sudden it was obvious that our match was going to count.
“I’m sure he felt he had a chance to do it for the USA and I was obviously very happy to be able to get the job done.”
Victorious European captain Colin Montgomerie admitted he would never do the job again because there were many other worthy candidates.
“This is a one-hit time and I’m delighted that Europe have won this trophy but I can assure you I will not be doing this again,” he said. “We have a number of fantastic vice-captains, four in fact, plus Olazabal and one of these I’m sure will be the next European captain.”