Winning a Major was always on the cards for Graeme McDowell, according to his fellow Ulsterman Michael Hoey.
McDowell became only the second Northern Ireland man to win a Major when he claimed the US Open title by a single shot on Sunday night — and the first since Fred Daly won The Open at Hoylake in 1947.
Hoey, who turned professional shortly before McDowell eight years ago, insists that McDowell has always possessed the quality that would net him victory in one of the big tournaments, after five previous European Tour triumphs.
“I always fancied Graeme would win, even though he started the last day three shots behind,” said Hoey, whose first European Tour success came at the Estoril Open in Portugal last year.
“Graeme's always been pretty good when he gets in position and I always thought he would win a Major.
“He's always been a proper player and I'm not surprised he's won, and it's just a fantastic result for Irish golf and it just shows you how strong European golf is with Gregory Havret second.”
McDowell’s win at Pebble Beach has guaranteed his selection for the Ryder Cup in October and after his success he received a text message from captain Colin Montgomerie, which read: “Brilliant! The whole Tour salutes you. Well done. Monty.”
Montgomerie added yesterday: “European Tour golf is just on a high at the moment, so much so that everyone here on the range is now eyeing St Andrews and the US PGA for more success.
“Graeme has always been a very determined player, I am delighted for him and it's just a great success for Europe, and that can only take him forward.”
McDowell is now taking a break and won’t play competitively again until the Scottish Open, starting on July 8.