• Open Championship

G-Mac wants Claret Jug but Simpson may skip Open

ESPN staff
June 19, 2012 « Blokhin warns England are ones under pressure | Chartbeat test »

Graeme McDowell is hoping to bounce back from his US Open disappointment by winning the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes next month.

McDowell, the 2010 US Open champion, fell narrowly short in his bid to win the title for the second time in three years at Olympic Club last weekend - coming up a shot shy as 26-year-old American Webb Simpson claimed his maiden major title.

While disappointed to miss out on victory having held a share of the lead going into the final round, McDowell has taken the positives from the performance and has now set his sights on winning the Claret Jug next month.

"I will probably take a week off now and go to Lytham and prepare," McDowell said. "I fancy a run at that Claret Jug, I do."

He added: "I will take away a large cheque and am probably very close to locking my Ryder Cup place, which is more important to me.

"It has reinforced to me that I can compete and win more major championships. It's been a frustrating five or six weeks for me, but I knew in my heart that my game was better than my results were showing and it was just great to come in this week, prepare, try my best and compete."

The story is different for Simpson, however, who may not tee it up in Blackpool at all. His wife is expecting their second child in August, and the North Carolina native hinted he will not risk being stranded overseas if there is any possibility she could go into labour prematurely.

"I don't know about Lytham," Simpson said. "We met with our doctor before this week, just to see if my wife, Dowd, could come. The next eight weeks are going to be up in the air. We're going to see what we can do.

"It will all be kind of game-time decision for us."

Simpson became the 15th different first-time major winner in a row, indicating the competitive nature of professional golf at the moment. He believes that is an indication of the greater quality of tournament fields, rather than an indictment of the lack of a bona fide dominant superstar - like Tiger Woods, for example - in the game.

"I think the game's changing. My caddie and I were talking this week, the 14-year-old kid [Andy Zhang] was here, Beau Hossler was playing so well. I couldn't imagine playing in even a qualifier for this tournament when I was in high school," he said.

"But I think the Tiger effect of inspiring people to play at a younger age, and I think the access to golf has gotten so much bigger that the game is changing. Even in college, I would have been scared to death to play in a US Open. And these guys are playing like they're trying to win the tournament.

"So I think the game will continue to evolve like that. I'm lucky because I feel like we're playing at a time where golf is at its best."

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