Graeme McDowell finished just one shot shy of Webb Simpson in his bid for a second US Open title but the Northern Irishman reinforced his Major Championship credentials at the Olympic Club this week.
Despite only hitting three fairways all day, McDowell refused to give up and had a chance of making a play-off when he followed his brilliant birdie on the 17th with an approach to 25 feet on the last. While the birdie attempt slipped by, the 2010 US Open Champion can hold his head high.
“Today has reinforced to me that I can compete and win more Major Championships,” he said. “It's been a frustrating five or six weeks for me, but knew in my heart that my game was better than my results were showing and it was just great to come in this week, prepare, put it up there as a Major Championship, try my best and compete.”
It wasn’t until the 11th that McDowell finally holed a birdie putt, and he followed that with another on the very next hole, but much of the damage had been done with four bogeys in an outward half of 38. Despite dropping shots at the next two holes as well, McDowell kept plugging away and his birdie at the 17th kept him in the hunt.
“I am proud of the way I hung in,” he said. “The way I birdied the 11th and 12th and the putt I made on the 17th just to give myself half a chance on the 18th, really. This is a new experience for me, finishing second at a Major Championship and I would rather have tried and failed than have never tried at all.”
And perhaps McDowell’s caddie Ken Comboy summed up his feelings best of all at the end of a brutal week in San Francisco.
“My caddie made a great analogy,” explained McDowell “The US Open it's like a really fast, scary rollercoaster that you get on at the time and you’re not sure if you like it and it's kind of scary. But once it's done and you look back, you realize that you had a lot of fun and you would like to do it again, and that kind of sums up what it's like to compete on the big stage at a Major Championship.”