WINDERMERE, Fla. – Back in 2009 Graeme McDowell was on his way back from playing the World Cup in China when he stopped in Los Angeles for a layover.
That same day Tiger Woods, fresh from the scandal that ended his marriage, withdrew from the Hero World Challenge – then played in Los Angeles at Sherwood CC – and offered his spot in the field to McDowell, who would finish runner-up to Jim Furyk.
That finish, McDowell explained, “started the chain of events that ended up at Pebble Beach” and the Northern Irishman’s victory at the 2010 U.S. Open.
McDowell’s showing at the World Challenge gave him enough World Ranking points to remain inside the top 50, which in turn earned him starts at the 2010 WGC-Cadillac Championship and Masters.
McDowell finished tied for sixth at Doral in 2010 to again maintain his spot inside the top 50 in the ranking and what would be a historic start at the U.S. Open.
“It was a chain of events if you like and I certainly look back at that very fondly,” said McDowell, who went on to win the World Challenge in 2010 and ’12. “This event has been very good to me.”
The Orlando resident is off to another great start. He posted a 4-under 68 Thursday and sits two strokes behind Jordan Spieth.