Graeme McDowell believes he’s on the verge of “something big” following his stunning win at Celtic Manor.
And if he doesn’t manage to knock off his first major in the US Open or The Open, he’d happily settle for victory in the 3 Irish Open at Killarney.
With the Welsh and Scottish Opens already on his CV, McDowell said: “Celtic Manor was my home practise facility when I used to live here in Cardiff. As a semi-honorary Welshman, it’s a proud moment to pick up this trophy.
“But my manager just said to me I got an e-mail into my website saying that I had won the Scottish and the Welsh; now what about playing a little better in the 3 Irish Open. It’s a valid point.”
His best finish in eight Irish Open appearances is a share of 11th in 2004 and he’d love to set the record straight in the Kingdom from July 29 to August 1.
He said: “I can only imagine because I haven’t won obviously on home soil. But to win an Irish Open would feel very, very special, just having so many close friends and family there to watch me winning one on Irish soil.”
The Ulsterman, 30, scorched to the fringes of qualification for October’s Ryder Cup and leapt eight places to 36th in the world thanks to his amazing final round 63 in Wales.
But before he heads to Killarney at the end of July, he’s set his sights on landing a really big win that would catapult him into the major leagues alongside Irish superstars Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy.
Looking forward to a massive summer with the US Open, the Scottish Open and The Open next on his radar, McDowell said: “I really feel like I have a big win in me.”
The Portrush ace reckons he’s ready to repeat the kind of form that saw him clinch his Ryder Cup debut in Kentucky two years ago.
After a slow start to that season he captured the Ballantine’s Championship in a play-off and went on to grab the biggest win of his career with a two-shot victory at Loch Lomond.
He said: “Obviously winning the Barclays at Loch Lomond a few years ago, things are kind of lining up the way they did a couple of years ago.
“I got off to a similar-type start in my season in 2008. I was frustrated but playing good, then winning in Korea at the Ballantine’s Championship, I got into the meat and bones of the season and won at Barclays and get myself on the team.
“I feel like I’m on a very similar process again this year. Obviously Pebble Beach is next on the list, but I’ll be certainly be coming back, France, Loch Lomond, St. Andrews and focussed on having a big three weeks there and make sure that nails my place on the team.”
McDowell is just over €34,000 outside the automatic places at 10th in the European Points List.
Determined to win his second cap under Colin Montgomerie from October 1-3, he vowed: “If I don’t qualify automatically and I’m looking for a pick, this is certainly going to be a good feather in my cap.
“But my goal is to make the team automatically. Valhalla a couple of years ago did nothing but stoke the fires as far as my desire to be on the next team.”