Graeme McDowell believes Europe’s Ryder Cup dominance will be threatened by America’s new band of young guns next year.
The Ulsterman knows he faces a major battle to win his third Ryder Cup cap at Medinah near Chicago.
And while Europe dominates the top four spots world rankings and won four of the last eight majors to just one American victory, he reckons “the tide is turning” thanks to a new crop of US stars.
Wary of US backlash at next year’s Ryder Cup, McDowell told ESPN: “For the last couple of Ryder Cups Europeans have been going in as bookmaker’s favourites for the first time. That brings its own pressure and expectation level.
“Yes, European golf has had a great four or five years. We’ve been winning the major championships and dominating world golf, no doubt about it.
“But I feel the tide is turning a little bit. The Americans are getting strong and they’ve got a great bunch of young players coming through who really see the Ryder Cup for what it is.”
Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, Nick Watney, Ricky Fowler and US PGA champion Keegan Bradley are now America’s top guns alongside World Cup winners Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland.
And McDowell expects them to fight back, insisting: “It’s exciting, they are into it, they are energetic and up for it and I certainly hoping to be part of that European team in Chicago next year.
“It is going to be a great team. It is going to be a difficult team to get on but I really want to be there and try to defend the title.”
McDowell grabbed the winning Ryder Cup point at Celtic Manor last year as well as his first major, the US Open at Pebble Beach.
But he admits that found it “tough” to live up to the hype around him this season and he’s determined to return to the winner’s circle again after a barren year.
He said: “I reflect on 2011 as a real learning experience. Last year as always going to be pretty tough to follow up and try to emulate.
“I came into the year trying my best not to judge myself on 2010 standards but a lot of the pre-US Open hype kind of got to me a little bit.
“I spent the first six months of 2011 living in 2010. Everyone wanted to talk about it and it was very tough for me to move on with my career.
“It’s been a real learning experience getting over that and through that, and start to set my goals again and look to the future about what I want to achieve in my career.
“Since August I have played much, much better. I struggled with my game technically a bit as well this year but it was more mental than anything.
“When people call me a major champion it’s still pinch yourself stuff. It’s very tough to fathom what you have achieved.
“I guess that’s a good thing because you want to stay motivated and you want to drive yourself and have that desire to achieve more of that.
“At some point in my life I’m sure I’ll kick the feet up and sip on a nice glass of red wine and reflect on what’s been a fun career but hopefully I’ll add a few more chapters between now and then.”