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I’m dreaming of 2019 Open joy in Portrush, admits McDowell

By Charlie Bennett

With one Major to his name and millions in the bank, Graeme McDowell could be forgiven for drifting into retirement content.

But the Northern Ireland ace wakes up every morning with one goal in mind; winning The Open in his home town.

Golf’s oldest Major is back next week with the world’s finest heading to Carnoustie, but at Royal Portrush on the Causeway coast the countdown is already on to next year when it makes its return to The Open rota.

The famous course has waited 68 years to host The Open again after Max Faulkner’s triumph in 1951. And McDowell is desperate not to miss out. It is eight years since he won the US Open and with Royal Portrush following a return to Pebble Beach next summer, the 38-year-old can’t wait.

“I am inspired by it,” he said. “It is going to be an exciting journey from Carnoustie to Portrush. Next Sunday, there will be a board saying, ‘See you next year at Portrush’ and that will be so special for me.

“For a guy who grew up in Portrush playing golf, I dreamed this. It is going to be a dream realised. There is no doubt I am looking forward to next summer and I am very motivated. I will be working as hard as I can on my game to make sure I can come here and be competitive.”

McDowell has some work to do. After winning the US Open, he was one of the best in the world and came so close to lifting the Claret Jug in 2012 at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

However, a mixture of injury and the arrival of his daughter in 2014 slowed him down and this season he has achieved just one top-10 finish on the PGA Tour. But still, he dreams of lifting the Claret Jug.

“It has been a quiet few years. I have got married and had a couple of kids and have just been living life,” he added. “But my motivation has never gone.”

McDowell, an honorary life member of Royal Portrush, added of the venue: “The players will be presented with one of the best courses in the world, they are going to be given the experience of something very special.”

  • Graeme McDowell was speaking courtesy of Mastercard, a Patron of The 148th Open which takes place at Royal Portrush Golf Club between July 14-21, 2019. Tickets are available now to members of The One Club — join for Free at TheOpen.com/PortrushTickets — and save £5 per order when purchasing with a Mastercard.

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