Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie has hailed Graeme McDowell's mental toughness in putting an end to the 40-year European drought at the United States Open.
“It was a magnificent performance,” said Montgomerie, twice a runner-up in the event himself and also third on his debut at Pebble Beach in 1992.
“He (McDowell) holed so many key putts — especially a crucial one on the eighth for par — and was very impressive throughout the week.
“He showed great strength of character in getting the job done in such superb fashion. He is a world-class player and obviously I am delighted to have a 2010 major winner in my team this year.”
McDowell has moved up to second in the points race after back-to-back victories at the Wales Open — on the same Celtic Manor course where October's match will be staged — followed by the US Open.
“All credit to Graeme to be the first European player in 40 years to win,” added Montgomerie, who is expected to pair him with fellow Ulsterman Rory McIlroy when the Americans defend the trophy.
“Nick (Faldo), Bernhard (Langer) and myself came close, but none of us achieved what he has. This is great for British golf and also the European Tour. Golf salutes him.”
McDowell, whose previous best finish in any major was 10th at last year's US PGA, will make his next appearance at the French Open next week, while The Open at St Andrews is only three weeks away.
European Tour chief executive George O'Grady said: “Graeme's outstanding US Open triumph in an historic 1-2-3 through Gregory Havret and Ernie Els finishing second and third is another illustration of the strength in depth of the European Tour.
“We congratulate all three and we are particularly delighted for Graeme, his family and his support team.”