Graeme McDowell's 'bad day at the office' as dreams end up in a gorse bush - Golf - Sport - The Independent

Graeme McDowell's 'bad day at the office' as dreams end up in a gorse bush

One catastrophically bad swing puts paid to Irishman's late challenge

He went from G-Mac to G-Snap in the blink of an eye. All it took was one bad swing and Graeme McDowell's Open challenge was over. He stood in position A at the par-five 11th with a fairway wood in his hand. One snap hook later and his ball was in position Z, lost in a bush.

His ball set off like an Exocet towards the gallery. Had it been any lower, he wouldn't have been paying for a hotel bill like his pal Rory McIlroy did when he whacked a teenager on the head, McDowell would have been paying for a funeral. It was a shot that weekend hackers know only too well. But for McDowell it was a once-in-a-lifetime catastrophe. And what a wretched time to do it. "It was a dead pull, 15-handicapper card-wrecker," McDowell said after his final round five-over-par 75. "I struggled to adapt to the conditions with the crosswinds."

The thought must have crossed his mind as he was sitting on the buggy being taken back to play his penalty shot, his brain like scrambled eggs, to ask the driver to keep going and drop him off at Lytham station. "That was very smart. There goes my Open Championship," McDowell said he was thinking as he stared into the abyss knowing it was all over but he still had seven holes to negotiate. "It's the longest walk in golf," he said. "And, believe me, the cart ride doesn't make it any shorter."

That's twice in two months the 32-year-old has gone out in the final pairing of a major and lost. Last month he just couldn't reel in Webb Simpson at the US Open. Yesterday, his Open dream dived into a gorse bush. But sportsmen are always searching for the positives from a painful defeat. McDowell will know he is back to being the street-fighting man that he was in 2010 when he won the US Open at Pebble Beach and holed the winning putt at the Ryder Cup. His 2011 annus horribilis hangover is over.

So what did he learn? "Going out in the last group in the last two majors with chances to win, but getting off to a flat start. That's frustrating. I'll be analysing why," he said. "You just can't buy the type of education I've just had at Lytham as well as five weeks ago [at the Olympic Club in San Francisco]. I'll bank that and know that if I keep putting myself in contention, one day it will be my time."

Next up, it's the US PGA Championship in August at Kiawah Island near Charlotte in North Carolina – glory's last shot, as it's called. You would fancy McDowell to feature on Sunday afternoon again. "Today was a bad day at the office," McDowell said. But the Northern Irishman, always classy whether in victory or defeat, knew to put his own frustrations into perspective, having witnessed Adam Scott's four-bogeys meltdown over the final holes: "My disappointment seems relatively stupid as I've just seen a guy lose the Open Championship. It's hard to watch a guy do that. I'm not beat up. I'm not splattered in the floor. I'll be back."

He was talking about himself but it was impossible not to think that McDowell's words were, as ever, well chosen. He knew just how Scott would be feeling. McDowell slipped away no doubt for a beer to ease the pain. Scott, meanwhile, might get to know how Oates felt on that failed Antarctic expedition: "I am just going out for a while, and I may be some time."

Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Life and Style
tech... and together they're worth at least £100 million
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig is believed to be donning skies as 007 for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
Life and Style
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
tech(but you can't escape: Bono is always on your iPhone)
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week