As excuses go, it’s a cracker. Graeme McDowell blames “sleep-walking” for the freak hand injury that almost ended his season a month early.
The world No 14 had to play in pain during last month’s WGC-HSBC Champions in China after slamming his right hand in his hotel room door.
But he now admits that he has “no idea” what really happened and reckons he did the damage during a sleep-walking episode.
McDowell told Golf Channel’s Morning Drive: “I woke up out of this dream and I was standing next to my hotel room door with the door open, in my boxer shorts and three seconds later I had the most searing pain coming through my right hand.
“I have no idea what I did to it.
“Now if my caddie had turned up the next morning and told me that story, I wouldn’t have believed him.
“But he watched me go to bed at 9 o’clock that night for an early night.
“That was my first sleepwalking experience and believe me it wasn’t a good one for me.
“I have no clue what happened.”
McDowell had to play with a baseball grip for the next two days, eventually finished tied for 42nd at Mission Hills.
There were fears that his season could come to an early end. But he went on to play in the Talisker (Australian) Masters and the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai before ending his two-year victory drought at Tiger Woods’ World Challenge in California just over a week ago.
McDowell plans to take the next 10 weeks off to recharge before reappearing in the Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles in February.
By then, Europe will have named its 2014 Ryder Cup skipper and McDowell reckons it’s now or never for Paul McGinley who is locked in a grim battle for votes from the Players Committee with former stablemate Darren Clarke.
But like fellow Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter, McDowell believes McGinley faces a tough task to see off Clarke for the captain’s armband for the matches at Gleneagles in Scotland.
Poulter said: “It’s a tough one. If Paul McGinley doesn’t get it this time around I don’t think he’s going to get it at all.
“Darren is better known in the US than Paul so Paul really needs to get it this time.”
McDowell added: “Paul has stated his case the last four or five years, he’s captained the Seve Trophy side a few times. He did a nice job.
“He doesn’t have the playing credentials of a Darren Clarke, but he could be a great captain.
“He’s got a lot of great qualities: leadership, organisational, strategic. He could be a great captain but I agree with Ian, if he doesn’t get it next time round, he’s probably never going to get it.
“Darren Clarke certainly will take it next time and if he didn’t take it next time he’d take it the time after that.”
As for the unlikely possibilty that 63-year old Tom Watson would captain the US in 2014 if he were offered the job, McDowell said: “It’s an easy question to answer when Tom Watson throws his hat in the ring.
“Traditionally the PGA of America picks a a player between the ages of 40 and 50, typically a former US PGA champion.
“I’d say they will change that ‘rule’ if Tom Watson threw his hat in the ring. He’d be a pretty intimidating captain for a European player.”