As newly crowned US Open Champion, Graeme McDowell will have many occasions to look forward to over the next few months but the one the 30 year old Northern Irishman is relishing the most is a return to Loch Lomond for The Barclays Scottish Open from July 8-11.
McDowell has always been a favourite with the Scottish galleries after his superb victory in the tournament in 2008 and he will now return to the Bonnie Banks in style following his dramatic triumph at Pebble Beach where he became the first European golfer to win the US Open in 40 years since Tony Jacklin triumphed at Hazeltine National in 1970.
His level par total of 284, following a final round 74, saw him also became only the second Northern Irishman in history to win a Major Championship, following Fred Daly’s Open Championship triumph of 1947, and the link between the two is even stronger considering both men are from Portrush.
“Winning The Barclays Scottish Open in 2008 is right up there with my best moments in golf and to be coming back to Loch Lomond next month as the US Open Champion will be unbelievable,” said McDowell, who travelled to California on the crest of a wave following his victory in The Celtic Manor Wales Open two weeks ago.
The crowds at Loch Lomond are well used to seeing the world’s best not only play in The Barclays Scottish Open but also win it, and that fact was conclusively borne out by the final results from Pebble Beach which saw not only McDowell, the 2008 champion, triumph, but also Frenchmen Grégory Havret – the 2007 winner – finish second, and last year’s champion, Martin Kaymer of Germany, share eighth.
“It is no secret that Loch Lomond is one of my favourite venues of the entire year on The European Tour,” added McDowell, who moved up from 37th to 13th on the Official World Golf Ranking. “I think it’s fantastic for Barclays and the tournament that Grégory and myself will be playing there having finished first and second at Pebble.”
Runner-up Havret will always be remembered at Loch Lomond for the gutsy showing he put up in 2007, carding a final round 68 to tie Phil Mickelson – who finished tied fourth in California alongside Tiger Woods – before beating the left-handed American in a sudden-death play-off.
“I think it is fair to say that 2007 was the peak of my career so far, and winning The Barclays Scottish Open was definitely the high point of that season,” said Havret. “I beat Phil in a play-off and on Sunday at Pebble Beach I managed to play with Tiger Woods and shoot three shots lower than him.
“I always have special memories of Scotland, having also won the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, and I can’t wait to go back to Loch Lomond next month alongside Graeme as the top two finishers in the US Open. Who knows? Maybe I can finish in front of him this time.”
Peter Adams, Championship Director of The Barclays Scottish Open, said: “Graeme and Grégory put on a show at Pebble Beach that everyone connected with European golf should be genuinely proud of and we look forward to extending an extra special welcome to them both to Loch Lomond next month.”
Golf fans eager to catch a glimpse of the world’s latest Major Champion in action in The Barclays Scottish Open at Loch Lomond can purchase discounted tickets at: www.barclaysscottishopen.co.uk