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Watch: How Twitter got my irreplaceable clubs returned for Irish Open, explains Graeme McDowell

By Gareth Hanna

Social media may just have saved Graeme McDowell's season.

The Portrush golfer's clubs were lost on Sunday night as he flew from Paris to Manchester in a bid to get his name in the draw for the Open Championship.

While Air France tried to locate the clubs, lost somewhere in Charles De Gaulle airport, McDowell was forced to withdraw from Tuesday's 36 hole Open qualifier, meaning he must finish in the top 10 at this week's Irish Open or next week's Scottish Open to stand any chance of making it into the season's third major.

McDowell explained that, without his own irreplaceable clubs, playing in the qualifier would have been an 'unnecessary risk' to a positive display at Ballyliffin.

And before he looks to do that, there is some good news. McDowell's clubs have been returned in time for his team to impress during Wednesday's Pro Am at Ballyliffin and the man himself puts that down to all the help he received from the tweeting public.

"I spent most of Monday on the phone to customer service at Air France which was frustrating to say the least," he explained.

"We established that the clubs were in Paris but not when they would get to me. It was basically 'get in the queue, you're one of many that have lost a bag and you'll wait you turn.'

"On Monday night, I still didn't know where my clubs were. It wasn't until around 10.3am on Tuesday morning that I talked to somebody sensible at Air France who could tell me they would put the clubs on a flight for me.

"Thankfully the story had a happy ending. They landed at Dublin on Tuesday night at 10 o'clock and a courier company had them in the hotel by 3am this morning.

"It was really the power of social media in the end. If it wasn't for Twitter and the fact that the story gained a huge amount of momentum to where Air France's PR department had to call me and sort things out, the clubs would still be in Paris somewhere.

"Thankfully I was able to tweet that out there looking for help, it gained some momentum and we got it sorted out.

"It was frustrating. The impact on the Open Championship qualifier was one thing but if the clubs hadn't got here and it had disrupted my preparation for this weekend, then the problems would have mounted up.

"I can safely say I'm sitting here as prepared mentally and physically as I would be normally. I'm just trying to put this whole story behind me and I appreciate the support I've had from everyone to get this case solved. I just want to say thanks to Air France and everybody who helped out. Let's get ready for the Irish Open."

So just why couldn't Graeme play with another set of clubs? Surely Srixon could rattle a set together pretty quickly? He explained why it's not so simple.

"My equipment is kind of old generation stuff," he said. "My irons are three years old. My driver is a couple years old. I really don't play with a lot of up-to-date equipment, so a lot of the stuff would have been very difficult to replace. The irons I use, Srixon won't carry those on the truck anymore. The wedges I use, Cleveland, they won't be on the truck anymore. The putter is 15 years old.

"The stuff I would have been able to get close -- I probably would have been able to replicate them 90 per cent but I wouldn't have been able to replace a lot of the stuff in my bag. Certainly this week I would not have been able to do it."

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland.
Keith Duffy at the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin.
Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Keith Duffy at the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy's father, Gerry McIlroy, centre in white, on the 11th fairway. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy on the 11th tee. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Thorbjørn Olesen on the 11th tee. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy on the 11th green. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy with his caddy Harry Diamond on the 10th tee. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 5/7/2018 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Rory McIlroy's mother Rosie and wife Erica at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin - Rory McIlroy has started his bid for a second Irish Open success alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjon Olsen at the Ballyliffin links in Donegal. The 2016 champion and four-time major winner goes out with Englishman Fitzpatrick and Danish player Olesen in the opening two rounds. Last year's winner Jon Rahm tees off with Rafa Cabrera Bello and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell. Shane Lowry, winner in 2009, is grouped with Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 5/7/2018 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Rory McIlroy teeing off the 2nd at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin - Rory McIlroy has started his bid for a second Irish Open success alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjon Olsen at the Ballyliffin links in Donegal. The 2016 champion and four-time major winner goes out with Englishman Fitzpatrick and Danish player Olesen in the opening two rounds. Last year's winner Jon Rahm tees off with Rafa Cabrera Bello and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell. Shane Lowry, winner in 2009, is grouped with Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 5/7/2018 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Rory McIlroy teeing off the 8th at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin - Rory McIlroy has started his bid for a second Irish Open success alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjon Olsen at the Ballyliffin links in Donegal. The 2016 champion and four-time major winner goes out with Englishman Fitzpatrick and Danish player Olesen in the opening two rounds. Last year's winner Jon Rahm tees off with Rafa Cabrera Bello and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell. Shane Lowry, winner in 2009, is grouped with Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters.
Jim Nesbitt takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Brian McFaddenat the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Enda Kenny and Jihad El Sibai take part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Jim Nesbitt takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Jim Nesbitt takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Rory McIlroy on the 1st tee with Tony McCoy, JP McManus and Dermot Desmond at the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Rory McIlroy on the 1st fairway at the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 4/7/2018 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Keith Wood playing in today's Pro-Am at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Ballyliffin, Donegal. Rory McIlroy will start his bid for a second Irish Open success alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjon Olsen at the Ballyliffin links in Donegal. The 2016 champion and four-time major winner goes out with Englishman Fitzpatrick and Danish player Olesen in the opening two rounds. Last year's winner Jon Rahm tees off with Rafa Cabrera Bello and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell. Shane Lowry, winner in 2009, is grouped with Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 4/7/2018 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Padraig Harrington playing in today's Pro-Am at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Ballyliffin, Donegal. Rory McIlroy will start his bid for a second Irish Open success alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjon Olsen at the Ballyliffin links in Donegal. The 2016 champion and four-time major winner goes out with Englishman Fitzpatrick and Danish player Olesen in the opening two rounds. Last year's winner Jon Rahm tees off with Rafa Cabrera Bello and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell. Shane Lowry, winner in 2009, is grouped with Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy on the fairway with Tony McCoy at the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Tony McCoy takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. JP McManus takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Keith Wood takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Keith Wood takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Graeme McDowell takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy practices before the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy on the 1st tee with his Tony McCoy at the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Rory McIlroy signing autographs for fans at today's Pro-Am at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Ballyliffin, Donegal.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 4/7/2018 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Darren Clarke teeing off the 1st at today's Pro-Am at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Ballyliffin, Donegal. Rory McIlroy will start his bid for a second Irish Open success alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjon Olsen at the Ballyliffin links in Donegal. The 2016 champion and four-time major winner goes out with Englishman Fitzpatrick and Danish player Olesen in the opening two rounds. Last year's winner Jon Rahm tees off with Rafa Cabrera Bello and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell. Shane Lowry, winner in 2009, is grouped with Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 4/7/2018 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Golf fans enjoying the fantatic weather at today's Pro-Am at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Ballyliffin, Donegal. Rory McIlroy will start his bid for a second Irish Open success alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjon Olsen at the Ballyliffin links in Donegal. The 2016 champion and four-time major winner goes out with Englishman Fitzpatrick and Danish player Olesen in the opening two rounds. Last year's winner Jon Rahm tees off with Rafa Cabrera Bello and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell. Shane Lowry, winner in 2009, is grouped with Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Graeme McDowell takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy practices before the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

McDowell tees off at 8.20am in Thursday's first round, playing alongside defending champion Jon Rahm.

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