Editor’s note: Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a regular contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following piece is excerpted from his blog, Irish Golf Desk.
By Brian Keogh
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF
GRAEME MCDOWELL WANTS TO become Dr. No for Martin Kaymer and deny the German in the race to become European No 1. The US Open champion and Ryder Cup hero will be rewarded with honorary doctorates by both Queen’s and the University of Ulster for becoming the first Ulsterman to win a major title since Fred Daly in 1947.
But Dr. GMac is not ready to rest on his laurels just yet and he’s gunning to crown a career year by snatching Race to Dubai glory from under Kaymer’s nose. Determined to slash the Dusseldorf hotshot’s massive €1 million euro lead at the top of the European money list in this week’s Andalucia Valderrama Masters, McDowell said: “It’s been an amazing year but it is important to finish it off on a strong note.
“I am playing the next seven weeks with the first five of them counting towards the Race to Dubai. Valderrama is a great place to get the ball rolling but it’s going to be tough to make up a million euro deficit on Martin. He has a chance to go to No. 1 in the world this week and he is always a tough guy to beat. But I will be giving it a run and getting the head down and trying to finish the season really strong from here.”
All eyes will be on Kaymer at Valderrama, where a top-two finish would see him replace Tiger Woods at the top of the world rankings and become the first German world No. 1 since Bernhard Langer. He’s bidding for his fourth tournament win on the spin after sandwiching victory in the US PGA between triumphs in the KLM Open and the Dunhill Links at St Andrews.
But while his win at the Home of Golf helped him move close to one million clear of McDowell at the top of the Race to Dubai standings, the Irish star refuses to give up the chase.
McDowell said: “It’s been a very special, special year but I will enjoy my Christmas dinner more if I can give these seven weeks everything, especially the first five leading up to the Dubai World Championship.”
He’s fully aware that catching Kaymer will be no easy matter with both men set to continue their head to head in next week’s HSBC Champions, the Singapore Open and the Hong Kong Open before the climaxing Dubai World Championship.
As for his honorary degrees, McDowell said: “It will make my Mum proud. She never got a chance to see me graduate from college, because I never did. It was always a dream of hers to go to a graduation ceremony so this is the next best thing.
“When honours like that come your way it’s a surreal feeling and you feel a bit humbled by them. It puts what you have achieved in perspective.”
Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.