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Graeme McDowell backs Rory McIlroy in US rookie row

Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell
Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell have both enjoyed success in 2010

Graeme McDowell has joined Lee Westwood in criticising the PGA Tour for picking American Rickie Fowler as Rookie of the Year ahead Rory McIlroy.

Westwood accused the PGA Tour of "protectionism" and McDowell is also surprised McIlroy missed out.

"I agree with Lee that Rory was a lot more deserving than Rickie," he said.

"You can't compare Rickie Fowler's season to Rory's - to win Quail Hollow in the style he did and to challenge in major championships at the age of 21."

Fowler totalled seven top-10s in 2010 while Northern Ireland's McIlroy, who has confirmed he will return to the European Tour next season, finished tied for third at two majors, the Open and USPGA, and won the Quail Hollow Championship in May before helping Europe to Ryder Cup glory in October.

If one of us was to win Sports Personality of the Year that would just cap off an amazing year for European golf

Graeme McDowell

McDowell said of his compatriot: "Rory is one of the most talented players I've ever seen. What is he, 11th in the world now?

"But, at the end of the day it's just a title - it's nothing. Rory McIlroy will go on, I believe he will become one of the best players in the world, if not the best player, and win major championships."

The US Open champion also paid tribute to Westwood for his achievement in being crowned the world's top player.

"He's had an incredible year," said McDowell.

"To do what he's done this year with the injury problems he's had and the amount of time he's had off, to come back and to be better than ever. He's the world number one golfer - enough said.

"He's been so impressive the last few years now, knocking on the door of major championships, winning tournaments all over the world. He's certainly deserving of world number one."

McDowell and Westwood are among the 10 contenders shortlisted for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

The Portrush man, who was named joint winner of the 2010 European Tour Golfer of the Year award along with Martin Kaymer on Tuesday, would love to round of the year with another title on 19 December.

"If one of us was to win Sports Personality of the Year that would just cap off an amazing year for European golf," said McDowell, who beat Tiger Woods in a play-off at the Chevron World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, California on Sunday.

"Sports Personality of the Year - it's one of those things I've grown up with. Just to be part of that show, to be one of the nominations, is very special."

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see also
McDowell & Kaymer land Euro award
07 Dec 10 |  Golf
McDowell now seventh in rankings
06 Dec 10 |  Golf
McDowell beats Woods in play-off
05 Dec 10 |  Golf
Westwood cruises to Nedbank title
05 Dec 10 |  Golf
Woods engages in Twitter banter
01 Dec 10 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf

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