Graeme McDowell eyes Ryder Cup return after success in Saudi International

Graeme McDowell shows off the magnificent Saudi International Trophy after his win at Royal Greens Golf Club in King Abdullah Economic City
Graeme McDowell shows off the magnificent Saudi International Trophy after his win at Royal Greens Golf Club in King Abdullah Economic City
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Graeme McDowell listened to Bryan Adams belt out 'Summer of 69' at a concert on Friday night before providing the second Saudi International with a winner born in the summer of '79.

Two weeks after fellow fortysomething Lee Westwood landed the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, the Northern Irishman clinched an equally impressive title triumph on the Red Sea coast.

A final-round 70 for a 12-under-par 268 total gave McDowell, one of Thomas Bjorn's vice captains along with Westwood for the 2018 Ryder Cup in France, a two-shot win over defending champion.

McDowell, the 2010 US Open winner, also held off Phil Mickelson, who finished a stroke further back along with Gavin Green and Thomas Pieters, to claim his first European Tour triumph in five-and-a-half years.

Revealing that Westwood had sent him a text on Saturday night encouraging him to finish off the job, he said: "It's inspiring to see these guys win in their 40s, guys that have been through it, done it, kind of looked like they have maybe were kind of coming into the sunset of their career, and then you win a big event."

McDowell's 11th success on the European circuit and 16th worldwide is set to lift him into the world's top 50, having been outside the top 200 exactly a year ago.

"I was sitting at home with a wrist injury with no card on PGA Tour and wondered where my future was going to lie. It was difficult. But I was realistic. I had a positive attitude, which was important."

That helped him win in the Dominican Republic on the US tour last March and now a fifth Ryder Cup appearance at Whistling Straits in September is a possibility.

"I guess we didn't really enjoy the vice captaincy thing in Paris," he said, laughing. "I would love to be on the team. But there's a lot of things that need to happen between now and then before I get myself on the team.

"I'm a little like Lee. I want to play my way on to the team and I don't want to have to rely on that pick."

McDowell, who attended a concert by Canadian rock star Adams next to the course with his caddie Ken Comboy, signed off in Saudi with a a 'sorry' to the referee who'd handed him a "bad time" on Friday following an on-course TV interview.

"I felt hard done by in the moment as it was going to haunt me as the weekend went on, but I feel like Snoddy (Andrew Snoddy) got the brunt of the negativity that was created, that I caused him and I want to apologise to him."