What we learned: McDowell has true major grit


LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England – Each week, the GolfChannel.com team offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the most recent events and news developments. This week, in a special daily edition from the Open Championship, we learned that Graeme McDowell being in contention on the final day of a major looks to be less of a blip and more of a trend.

I knew Graeme McDowell had major moxie, but the dude has more guts and determination than I ever thought. We know that he won the 2010 U.S. Open, that he drained the winning putt for the Ryder Cup that year and that he later took down Tiger Woods head to head in Woods' year-end get-together. But playing in the final group on Sunday in consecutive majors is a huge accomplishment. Sure, it didn't quite work out last month at the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club but McDowell had a putt to get into a playoff with Webb Simpson. Here at the Open Championship, McDowell was off the radar then stormed back with four birdies in the last 11 holes. He may be four shots behind, but he's playing with Adam Scott and has another major opportunity. The dude is uber gritty. – Jay Coffin

I learned that Thorbjorn Olesen is going to be the next in a long line of unique, impressive young talents from Europe. Actually, he’s already there. While the world watched Tiger Woods’ ebbs and flows throughout the third round of the Open Championship, his playing partner hung with him step for step, a final-hole bogey leaving Olesen just one stroke behind his childhood hero with a 1-over 71. That may not be the low round he wanted, but for a 22-year-old kid making just his second career major championship appearance, the ability to keep his composure in the maelstrom that always surrounds Woods was enough to convince me that he’s going to reappear on these major stages for many more years to come. – Jason Sobel

That Graeme McDowell, maybe even more so than Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson, is starting to look like Tiger Woods’ chief rival. The Northern Irishman may not win on Sunday but he tees off in the last group for the second consecutive major and his passion for the moment, perhaps more than the rewards, is second only to Woods'. – Rex Hoggard