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Rhys Davies' Ryder Cup advice from Graeme McDowell

Rhys Davies
Rhys Davies has enjoyed five top three finishes in his rookie season

Graeme McDowell has urged Welsh golfing sensation Rhys Davies not to completely focus on making Europe's team for the first Ryder Cup staged in Wales.

Successive second places at the Madrid Masters and Wales Open have fired the 25-year-old to 45th in the world.

The Welsh rookie is on the verge of the Ryder Cup qualifying spots and into Euro captain Colin Montgomerie's mind.

But Wales Open winner McDowell said: "He just needs to keep playing his game and all he can do is do his best."

McDowell and Davies - first and second on the weekend - were playing partners in the opening two days at the Wales Open and their performances have fired them into contention for a return to the Celtic Manor in October as part of Europe's Ryder Cup team.

McDowell is the current king of the Celtic Manor after his three shot victory while home hero Davies boasts the 2010 Ryder Cup host course's lowest round after his nine-under par 62 Wales Open final round on Sunday.

Davies, who like McDowell graduated from the renowned American collegiate system, has already made it into the world's top 50 in his first full year on the European Tour and is fifth on the Race to Dubai money-list.

Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell celebrates his final round 63
The European team will be a seriously competitive team but I feel Rhys is good enough to get on the team

Wales Open winner Graeme McDowell

Northern Ireland star McDowell failed to qualify for Ireland's first Ryder Cup at the K Club in 2006 but played his way into Nick Faldo's European team that lost to the United States at Valhalla in 2008.

And the 30-year-old, who won his fifth pro tournament at the Wales Open on the weekend, told Davies that qualifying for his home Ryder Cup need not be the be all and end all.

"He'll be trying his guts out to get in his home Ryder Cup team as I had the same in 2006," recalled McDowell.

"I didn't make it but has it made me a worse or better player? I'd argue it made me a better player.

"It made me want it more in 2008, it made me dig deep and rethink where I was going wrong.

"If he doesn't get onto the team this year, it could drive him onto bigger and better things.

"In 2006 I did a lot of media work at the Ryder Cup and it hurt me watching from the sidelines as it showed me what I was missing.

"And I certainly threw the kitchen sink at it to get on the European team in 2008.

"The European team will be a seriously competitive team but I feel Rhys is good enough to get on the team - maybe in 2006 I just wasn't good enough."

Rhys Davies reveals his delight after breaking the Ryder Cup course record

McDowell, who accepts he is an 'adopted Welshman' after he previously lived in Cardiff for years, was crowned the 11th Wales Open winner on Sunday and moves a place ahead of Davies in the European Ryder Cup rankings.

Davies has been hailed as the 'best putter in the world' and has been widely praised after securing five top three finishes this season - including his maiden professional win at the Hassan II trophy in Morocco.

And McDowell believes Welsh golf has a star of the future in Davies, who is on the verge of passing through the one million Euro mark.

"Rhys has a lot of potential and I'm surprised how much he has improved and how consistent he is," said McDowell.

"I played with Rhys on Thursday and Friday and I have been very impressed with how his game has improved over the last couple of years.

"I also played with him at Madrid about three years ago and he had a great short game but he didn't have the long game to go with it.

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"Now is starting to build an ominous long game - and that is a dangerous combination.

"Rhys is a very cool customer with a great mental approach.

"His emergence is great for Wales and I really hope he gets on the Ryder Cup team, it'll be amazing for the fans and the atmosphere in general - and I'll be watching his progress with interest."

Davies now automatically qualifies for golf's major championships now he is inside the top 50 - starting at next week's US Open at Pebble Beach.

And Davies' chances of qualifying for the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor between 1 and 3 October will be dramatically boosted with a good performance at the US Open - starting on Thursday, 17 June - and the Open at St Andrews next month.



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see also
Davies reveals top 50 excitement
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Dredge secures Open qualification
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McDowell secures Wales Open crown
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Davies can make Cup team - Donald
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Donald pips Davies to Madrid win
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Welshman Davies win US Open spot
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Davies and Dodd second in China
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Welshman Davies earns maiden win
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Davies can be 'the new Woosnam'
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Monty to lead Europe at Ryder Cup
28 Jan 09 |  Golf
Pavin named US Ryder Cup captain
11 Dec 08 |  Golf
US secure emphatic Ryder Cup win
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