As a boy growing up along the rugged Portrush peninsula in Northern Ireland, Graeme McDowell would fantasize that he had two putts to win the U.S. Open Championship. He has now lived out that dream—two-putting for par to capture the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links—to add his name to the Hall of Fame list of major champions at the legendary course.
Fittingly, in a championship where a score of par is the most meaningful, the 30-year-old McDowell posted an even-par 284 for the 72 holes to become the first European winner of the championship since England’s Tony Jacklin in 1970.
McDowell’s rounds of 71-68-71-74 left him one stroke ahead of France’s Grégory Havret, who was playing in his first U.S. Open, two clear of South Africa’s Ernie Els, and three ahead of the two top-ranked players in the world, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, who tied for fourth at 287.
McDowell became only the third golfer from the United Kingdom to win a professional event at Pebble Beach. The others were Peter Oosterhius of England, who captured the 1982 and 1984 Spalding Invitational Pro-Am, and “Lighthorse” Harry Cooper, also of England, who won the 1926 Monterey Peninsula Open.
McDowell also is the only non-American to win any of the 15 United States Golf Association events held at Pebble Beach Golf Links, which has already started planning to host more international players as host for the 2018 U.S. Amateur and the 2019 U.S. Open championships.
“What a week,” beamed McDowell, as he kissed and hugged the silver trophy, where his name was etched with the 109 previous winners, including the four who won previously at Pebble Beach: Jack Nicklaus (1972), Tom Watson (1982), Tom Kite (1992) and Tiger Woods (2000). “I just can’t believe I’m standing here with this thing right now. It’s an absolute dream come true.”
As is the custom, the U.S. Open concluded on Father’s Day, and McDowell celebrated with his father, Kenny, who was on hand to watch his son’s triumph.
“This is just a special golf course to win,” McDowell said. “Pebble Beach, it’s such a special venue. To join the list of names—Tom Kite, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus—I can’t believe I’m standing here as a Major Champion.”