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Monday, 21 June 2010
Graeme McDowell speaks about being the new US Open Champion  (Getty Images)
Graeme McDowell speaks about being the new US Open Champion (Getty Images)

Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie has hailed Graeme McDowell's mental toughness as he brought to an end a European drought at the US Open that stretched all the way back to Tony Jacklin in 1970.

"It was a magnificent performance," said Montgomerie, twice a runner-up in the event himself and also third on his debut at Pebble Beach in 1992.

"He holed so many key putts - especially a crucial one on the eighth for par - and was very impressive throughout the week.

"He showed great strength of character in getting the job done in such superb fashion. He is a world-class player and obviously I am delighted to have a 2010 Major winner in my team this year."

McDowell has moved all the way up to second in the points race after back-to-back victories at the Celtic Manor Wales Open - on the same Twenty Ten course where October's match will be staged - and then the US Open.

"All credit to Graeme to be the first European player in 40 years to win," added Montgomerie, who is could pair McDowell with 21 year old compatriot Rory McIlroy when the Americans defend the trophy.

"Nick (Faldo), Bernhard (Langer) and myself came close, but none of us achieved what he has. This is great for British golf and also the European Tour. Golf salutes him."

Faldo lost a play-off to Curtis Strange in 1988 and finished a stroke behind Hale Irwin and Mike Donald two years later.

Langer's best finish was fourth in 1987, but Ian Woosnam was a runner-up two years after that, Miguel Angel Jimenez a distant joint second behind Tiger Woods in 2000 and Lee Westwood missed out by a shot at Torrey Pines two years ago.

McDowell, whose previous best finish in any Major was tenth at last year's US PGA, will make his next appearance at the ALSTOM Open de France next week, while The Open at St Andrews is only three weeks away.

European Tour Chief Executive George O'Grady said: "Graeme's outstanding US Open triumph in an historic 1-2-3 through Gregory Havret and Ernie Els finishing second and third is another illustration of the strength in depth of the European Tour.

"We congratulate all three and we are particularly delighted for Graeme, his family and his support team.

"Graeme has continued a remarkable run for European Tour members with 14 major championship wins since the turn of the century, including three by Padraig Harrington, and we look forward to this continuing at The Open next month at St Andrews."

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