Graeme McDowell reckons Rory McIlroy’s $2 million Shanghai cash scoop might just shut up the Holywood star’s critics for a while.
Former US Open champion McDowell was devastated when he crashed to the worst four round total of his tour career in the Andalucia Masters.
But despite finishing dead last on 25 over after weekend rounds of 81 and 82, he took time out to back his new stablemate’s return to winning ways in the Lake Malaren Shanghai Masters earlier on Sunday.
Putting his own disappointment aside, McDowell said: “It’s fantastic for Rory, very exciting for him and for Horizon Sports.
“Our manager Conor Ridge was over there too and it’s the optimum start for Rory and will silence the critics who have been having a go at him. I’m just delighted he’s come on board.”
While he’s world No 3 and the reigning US Open champion, McIlroy has been slammed for his lack of tournament wins since he joined the professional ranks in September 2007.
The County Down ace, 22, had won just three trophies in more than four years as a professional before he beat Anthony Kim in a play-off to grab the unofficial Shanghai Masters.
McIlroy’s critics have pointed out that he threw away a three shot final round lead and needed a play-off to get over the line.
And while he admitted that he made “hard work” of his win, McIlroy knows was the perfect way to draw a line in the sand and kick start his career under new management.
Confessing that victories do not come easy, despite his amazing eight-shot US Open win in June, McIlroy hopes he can learn how to win.
“It’s something that I feel I can get better at: winning and putting yourself in the position to win when you’re not playing your best,” he said on Sunday.
“Even if it’s scrappy golf, where you grind it out, you’re going to win a lot more tournaments by doing that. I was very happy I was able to pull this one out.”
The curly-haired star shocked observers by sacking long-time manager Chubby Chandler just 11 days ago to join McDowell at Conor Ridge’s Dublin based Horizon Sports Management, which relaunched its website today.
McDowell was the first to celebrate McIlroy’s fourth career win but he’s desperate to find his own game again after a year to forget.
The Portrush man, 32, confessed that he’s completely lost the swing that brought him four wins including a major and Ryder Cup glory just 12 months ago.
Dazed and confused after a nightmare weekend performance, McDowell told his Twitter followers: “I hit every tree at Valderamma this weekend and putted awful. My swing is elusive for me at the minute.
“Good swings are great but bad ones are out of control. I’ve got to keep working. I know it’s in there.”
McDowell and McIlroy were set to meet up in Shanghai on Monday night to talk over last week’s adventures.
The Ryder Cup pair will tee it up with stablemate Michael Hoey and Open champion Darren Clarke in the $7m (€4.94m) WGC-HSBC Champions on Thursday.
McDowell and McIlroy will team up for Ireland in the World Cup at Mission Hills World Cup in China at the end of the month.