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Biting Back: Graeme McDowell is a true sportsman

By Ali Gordon

You don't often see top sports stars praising each other - and genuinely meaning it.

But Graeme McDowell's admission that the 2014 season belonged to Rory McIlroy was both open and admirable.

The 2010 US Open winner posted in his latest BBC blog that "we can safely say it was a year that belonged to my friend and Ryder Cup team-mate Rory McIlroy."

And I strongly doubt that that was easy for him to say.

The 35-year-old was once the golden boy of Irish golf, and it wasn't even that long ago.

Just four years ago he ended the Europeans' 40-year drought at the US Open to become Northern Ireland's first major winner since Fred Daly in 1947 after storming to glory at Pebble Beach.

A mere 12 months later his achievements had already been surpassed.

Rory McIlroy cruised to US Open victory in the most spectacular of fashions. The Holywood ace finished the competition 16-under par and eight shots ahead of runner-up Jason Day to smash the US Open records.

That must have been a hard pill for G-Mac to swallow. All that elation engulfed by the new kid on the block.

Now a four-time major winner, McIlroy is showing no signs of slowing down and what a treat it is to watch.

For McDowell, it seems, the only thing he can do is sit back and watch the genius that is unfolding before our eyes.

But then again, look at Darren Clarke.

It took him a year of longing for G-Mac's major and he managed to bag one. G-Mac's accent may have gone but his chances haven't. Yet.

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