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Page last updated at 10:35 GMT, Tuesday, 5 October 2010 11:35 UK

McDowell reflects on special year after Ryder Cup win

Graeme McDowell

McDowell heroics secure Europe win

Graeme McDowell has labelled his year "amazing" after clinching the Ryder Cup for Europe on Monday less than four months after winning the US Open.

The Northern Irishman holed the decisive putt to secure a 14½-13½ win over the United States at Celtic Manor.

"The US Open was a special moment in my life and to do what I did on Monday was even more special," he said.

The 31-year-old is now the 6/4 favourite to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

Of his chances of scooping the coveted award, he added: "Well, wow, who knows? Fingers crossed."

Europe had seen a three-point lead at the start of the day whittled away as they gathered only one-and-a-half points from the six matches preceding the duel between McDowell and Hunter Mahan.

And with the two teams level at 13½-13½, Europe's grasp on the Cup appeared to be slipping when McDowell's advantage was reduced to a single hole on the 15th.

But he birdied the 16th and kept his composure at the 17th to secure the vital final match and ensure Europe regained the trophy.

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Despite appearing to display nerves of steel over the last two holes, McDowell revealed he was struggling to keep himself in check.

"I was definitely shaking. It really feels like you lose control of your body, you lose control of your muscle functions," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"You really have to rely on muscle memory I guess, all the balls that I have hit in practice all the putts that I have hit in practice. I mean you really can't control your golf swing because you are so nervous."

McDowell said his success was sweetened by the presence of his mother on the Twenty Ten course.

"She is an MS (multiple sclerosis) sufferer and has been carted around all week and it was the first time she has had a chance to see me play golf this year," he said.

"It was obviously a special moment for her and it was great to see her.

Graeme McDowell and father Kenny
McDowell celebrates with father Kenny after his win at Pebble Beach

"It has been an amazing year for me."

McDowell became the first European winner of the US Open in 30 years in June.

Two weeks before his Pebble Beach triumph, he tasted success at Celtic Manor with a final-round 63 to win the Welsh Open title.

His season has also featured three top-10 finishes on the European Tour - at the China Open, Madrid Masters and Austrian Open - and a share of sixth place at the WGC-CA Championships in Miami.

He is now the bookies' favourite to crown 2010 with the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year award at Birmingham's LG Arena on 19 December.

The last golfer to win was Nick Faldo, the record Ryder Cup points winner with 25, who picked up the 1989 award after lifting the US Masters.

Others in the running for the award include Grand National winner AP McCoy, European heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis and PDC world darts champion Phil Taylor with an official shortlist of 10 contenders still to be announced.



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see also
McDowell seals Cup win for Europe
04 Oct 10 |  Golf
McDowell in historic US Open win
21 Jun 10 |  Golf
McDowell secures Wales Open crown
06 Jun 10 |  Golf
Nerveless Els clinches CA title
14 Mar 10 |  Golf
Sports Personality front-runners
02 Nov 10 |  Sports Personality


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