The Open 2013: Graeme McDowell makes cut (which means that he’s going to win)



Ladies and gentlemen, we now know your winner of the 2013 Open Championship. Peter Dawson, the chief executive of the Royal and Ancient, can already fill in the blank in his speech at the awards ceremony tomorrow night. Spoiler alert. The champion golfer of the year is… Graeme McDowell.

It seems a shame to declare the final 36 holes of what has already been a fascinating tournament to be academic but McDowell is operating under some hitherto unknown law of binary golf. He either misses the cut or wins, putting up 0s or 1s. Has done since April. “Get your money on me now,” he laughed. “I only win when I make cuts, apparently.”

In his last eight events, dating back to the Masters, McDowell has won three times, including on his last outing at the French Open. But there have also been five missed cuts, including at Augusta and the US Open, the Players and the PGA at Wentworth.

It was no surprise the 33-year-old Northern Irishman was so relieved after returning a 71 to be four over par. “I certainly didn’t want to be sitting at home watching this on TV,” he said. “I’m ecstatic to be here. It’s going to be a beautiful weekend.”

That is one word to describe the challenge of a baked-out Muirfield. McDowell was one of those not to criticise the course on Thursday, when he had a 76, and now the 2010 US Open champion is looking forward to the examination to come. “The golf course is going to get nothing but tougher and tougher. It is tough to see the leaders getting beyond four or five under. Literally anything under par could win. We saw how difficult it began yesterday. After today, I’d imagine they can let the handbrake off and let the course accelerate away from us.”

McDowell said he had worked on his ball flight after his first round and that was the key to his improvement yesterday. But he and his playing partner, Tiger Woods, struggled with the slightly slower greens in the morning after a little water was put on the course overnight. “I’m not going to say the greens were soft or receptive, but they were at least two feet slower and I left a lot of putts short.”

The task facing McDowell to continue his binary form was brought home to him by watching his playing partner – the third member of the group, Louis Oosthuizen, retired hurt on Thursday. Woods was six shots better as the three-time champion tied for the clubhouse lead from the morning half of the draw.

“He was very impressive the last two days,” McDowell said. “He will not be far away. He plays the course very conservatively but it is incredible how well he controls his ball flight. He is using his iron play to devastating effect and, combined with some great putting, he’s going to be dangerous. I said to him on 18, ‘That was a clinic the last two days’.”

Ironically, although McDowell trails Woods by 13 in their major count, in recent times it is a different story. “It’s nice to be the only man in that two-ball with a major in the last five years but you can fall into the trap of standing back and admiring what is happening beside you.

“I’m looking forward to getting into my own zone tomorrow. It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s picking up the Claret Jug on Sunday night but I’m not writing off the rest of the field, and certainly not myself.”

Luke Donald, the former world  No 1 who enjoyed a top 10 finish alongside McDowell at Lytham last time, missed the cut for the second time in three years. He managed a 72 yesterday after starting with two birdies in the first three holes but finished at 10 over thanks to an opening 80.

“The damage was done on Thursday,” he said. “I just didn’t  have my game this week. I didn’t have the right control of the ball which  you need when the course gets  this hard.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Jerry Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
peopleSitcom star urges men to be more supportive of women than ever
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
footballLouis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United and Wenger can still spring a surprise
The spider makes its break for freedom
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot