After two years of golfing frustration and an absence from the winner’s circle despite several close calls, life has become much better for Graeme McDowell in recent weeks, both on and off the course.
The popular Northern Irishman announced his engagement to Kristin Stape last month and on Sunday he triumphed by three shots in the World Challenge hosted by Tiger Woods. For the next ten weeks, he will enjoy a well-earned break with his wife-to-be in their new home in Orlando while he completes the finishing touches to his own tavern outside the gates of Lake Nona, which he plans to open by late January.
“It’s been a very fun week,” said McDowell after holding off playing partner Keegan Bradley with a closing four-under-par 68 at a rain-soaked Sherwood Country Club. “For two years I’ve been saying things like ‘processes’ and ‘trying to get better’ and ‘be patient’ and hopefully the wins will come. I guess I got fed up with telling everybody that I’m playing well, playing well.
“I’m relieved to get across the line and take some nice confidence into this off-period I’ve got coming up. It really is about the processes, but we need to win. That’s why we’re out here.”
California has been a happy hunting ground for McDowell, who has twice won the World Challenge at Sherwood and clinched his first major title in the 2010 US Open held at Pebble Beach. He was especially happy, though, that his fiancée was able to fly into the Golden State on Friday and watch him seal victory in the elite 18-man event where every player was ranked in the world’s top 35.
“Hopefully this is the first of many,” McDowell smiled. “Getting engaged was a huge step in my life, and this has really made it a lot of fun.”