"Is it bad counting down the holes now because I want this to be over"

Graeme McDowell confessed that winning the US Open was one of the scariest things he’s ever done.

He felt so good about his game two days before start that he told mental coach Dr Bob Rotella that he didn’t need to sit down for a chat that week.

But as he came down the stretch he admitted that it was so nerve-wracking that he couldn’t wait for it to be over.

McDowell explained: “When I was walking up 13, I said to my caddie Kenny, ‘Is it bad counting down the holes now because I want this to be over.’ And he said, ‘I’ve been doing the same thing for the last nine holes.’

“You dream of being in that position but when you’re in that position, it’s scary and you want it to be over.”

But the Ulsterman said he was inspired by Padraig Harrington’s major exploits and the realisation that he didn’t have to play perfect golf, like Tiger Woods in 2000, to go out and win a big one himself.

“I definitely thought about him yesterday on the golf course,” McDowell said of Harrington. “Obviously we’re playing golf in the Tiger Woods era and he appeared superhuman 10 years ago when he did what he did at Pebble Beach in 2000. 

“But when you see guys you play golf with every day and compete with every week and I’ve played last round with him in tournaments, and you know he’s just a golfer who bleeds and breathes and plays the same golf ball and has to get the ball in the hole every hole, I think it gives you belief. 

“The Zach Johnsons, Trevor Immelmans, YE Yang, guys winning Majors for the first time, tells you it’s really possible. It doesn’t take a super-human effort like Tiger Woods to win a major.

“These guys popped into my head yesterday when I was getting ahead of myself, when I was picking up the trophy in my mind, when I was winning the trophy in my mind, I was counting the holes down. It was a hard day yesterday.”

McDowell’s mental strength made all the difference coming down the stretch.

He said: “I wish I could bottle up the way I felt yesterday and the way I’ve been feeling the last couple of months because I’ve been in a very cold, quiet, calm place.

“I’ve been doing a little bit of work with Bob Rotella and I saw him on Tuesday and he wanted to know if I wanted to do some work. I said to him, Bob, I’m in such a good place right now, there’s no point in even talking about it because I just want to keep feeling it.

“He respected my decision from the point of view there was nothing he could add to the equation.”