Graeme McDowell, a resident of Orlando, Florida, won the 2010 U.S. Open golfing championship at Pebble Beach on June 20, 2010. McDowell is a five-time winner in Europe but never had won in the U.S. "It’s an absolute dream come true," he said. "I’ve been dreaming it all my life." McDowell shot a three-over-par 74, during difficult conditions at Pebble Beach, to finish even for the week and one stroke ahead of Frenchman Gregory Havret. Keeping his game together, while Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els stumbled, McDowell became the first European to win the U.S. Open since 1970. McDowell joins an impressive list of U.S. Open winners at Pebble Beach – Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Tom Kite and Tiger Woods.
Graeme McDowell was born on July 30, 1979 at the seaside town of Portrush, Northern Ireland. His uncle, Uel Loughery, coached him there when he was a youngster. At the age of 14, McDowell played senior cup for Rathmore. He then attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham from 1998 to 2002. In 2001, he was a member of the Great Britain and Ireland team which retained the Walker Cup at Sea Island in Georgia, United States. In 2002, he won the Haskins Award as the most outstanding collegiate golfer in the United States.
McDowell turned professional in 2002, and won that season’s Volvo Scandinavian Masters, which was only his fourth start on the European Tour. That win led to McDowell being given an honorary life membership at Royal Portrush Golf Club.
He didn’t win again in his second pro season, but in 2004, he won the Telecom Italia Open and finished sixth on the European Tour Order of Merit. In 2005, he divided his time between the European and PGA Tours. He was not yet a full member of the PGA Tour, but his top-50 placing in the Official World Golf Rankings ensured that he received invitations to play at many events in the United States. McDowell managed two top-ten finishes on the PGA Tour including a tie for second place at the Bay Hill Invitational, which enabled him to earn enough money to become fully exempt on the PGA Tour in 2006. He failed, however, to finish in the top-150 in the 2006 PGA Tour money list, and decided to return to the European Tour in 2007. In 2008, he returned to the winners’ enclosure by winning first the Ballantine’s Championship in Korea and then the Barclays Scottish Open.
He played in the 2008 Ryder Cup, earning 2.5 points for the European team, and finished the season ranked fifth on the Order of Merit. In June 2010, McDowell won the Celtic Manor Wales Open by three shots. That was his fifth ever win.
After his historic U.S. Open win, McDowell was content to share a quiet moment with the man who made everything possible. McDowell’s father, Kenny, stood greenside as his son two-putted to win the Open. A minute later, father and son embraced. "I said, ‘You’re something, kid," Kenny McDowell said. "And he said, ‘Happy Father’s Day, Dad.’ "