Portrush pitbull Graeme McDowell wants to savage the USA next week and live up to his billing as the Irish Seve.
Europe’s match-winning hero at Celtic Manor expects pal Rory McIlroy to prove he’s “hands down” the best player in the world when Jose Maria Olazabal’s European team battles to retain the Ryder Cup in Chicago.
And while he knows he’ll partner “thoroughbred” superstar McIlroy at some stage, he’s determined to follow up on his 2010 exploits with another dogged performance.
Skipper Ollie certainly expects McDowell to show his fangs, insisting: “Graeme is the kind of player that even if he is playing poorly, he grabs you by the foot and doesn’t let you go until the 18th.
“He’s like Seve in terms of guts and character. He’s like a pitbull… When he bites, he never lets go.”
McDowell laughs at the pitbull comparisons, joking: “It could be just my face.”
But he’s secretly pleased that he’s viewed as the Celtic warrior Europe could need with the Ryder Cup on the line next Sunday.
And while he’d love to be able to play the spectacular golf that makes McIlroy the man they all want to beat, he’s ready to step up again and produce a veteran’s performance in his third Ryder Cup, offering the team his deadly combination of straight-hitting, solid irons and gutsy putting.
Proud to play the fighting Irishman, G-Mac said: “It was playing so much match play in my amateur days with Ireland that helped mould my personality into that pit-bull type player.
“I am not a top pedigree racehorse like a Rory. Things come easy to a guy like that and he just has talent coming out his ears.
“A guy like myself has to dig it out a little more and really try to maximise his game in other areas.
“I have always been a great putter, I have always been a very straight driver of the ball and the rest of the stuff I try to make it work.
“Having a great short game and being a great putter is always a great, massive weapon when it comes to matchplay and makes you a fairly dogged player down the stretch.
“These towering two irons, these magnificent shots that these pedigree race horses can hit, they are very difficult to pull off when the pressure is on.
“Scoring and the mental side of the game, the small things that make the Luke Donalds and the Padraig Harringtons and guys like that into scoring machines, these things come into play under pressure, coming down the stretch.
“Perhaps that’s why I am more of a dogged character like a Jim Furyk, like a Steve Stricker, guys who can just get the job done, even when it is not that pretty from tee to green.
“So I am not sure if it is the matchplay element or just the type of game that I have. But it is not a bad thing to be described as.
“Do I wish I had the talent of the other guys? Absolutely I do but I’ve got what I’ve got and try to make it work as best as I can.
“I feel I’ve got the tools to be a great match players and have always enjoyed the mano a mano element of the game and I am looking forward to doing it again next week.”
McDowell knows that like Woods in his heyday, McIlroy will be a marked man at Medinah.
But he’s backing his pal to show America why he’s now the undisputed world No 1 and a two-time major winner.
“It’s obviously a massive plus having a Rory McIlroy on your team,” McDowell said. “He is the best player on the planet right now, hands down. He has had an incredible two months.
“There is no doubt that he will have the crosshairs on his back and he is a scalp, a guy that players want to take a point off.
“And while Rory has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders, he is a guy who can handle that kind of pressure and step up.
“He has stepped up to the plate the last couple of months and I fully expect him to be on form next week and step up to the plate again.”
McDowell knows that he is just one of 11 guys hoping to feed off the McIlroy magic and blow the US away in the Windy City.
But he fully expects to get at least one game with his stablemate in the foursomes or fourballs in what he reckons is a European dream team
G-Mac said: “Rory is my natural pairing because we played three times at Celtic Manor. But there are a lot of variables.
“There is me and 10 other guys who would love to play with Rory on Friday and Saturday. He’s a fairly handy partner.
“Our team has some very obvious pairings in Poulter and Rose, Donald and Garcia, myself and Rory, Westwood and Lawrie.
“There are some stand out obvious pairings but there are a lot of variables and with three days of practice, we’ll see how guys are playing and feeling about the course.”
McDowell might have won the US Open in 2010 but he still regards that Celtic Manor moment as the highlight of his career because of the intensity of the moment and the team camaraderie.
Putting it in perspective, he said: “The US Open is such an individual achievement. But the Ryder cup is such a different dynamic with 40 or 50,000 people all pulling for the guys in blue that day.
“You share that victory with everyone that calls themselves European and everyone that has an affinity with the European Tour.
“I am looking at the US Open trophy in my living room here as I speak to you, that will forever be my personal great achievement. I will never ever win my first major again, though hopefully I will win many more.
“But the Ryder Cup was such a team effort and I guess I felt very honoured to have the opportunity to be the guy to hole the winning putt for what was such a huge team effort.”
Every dog has its day but if Olazabal’s gut instinct is right, McDowell could give Europe the bite it needs to head home with the trophy.