Club farce forces McDowell out of Open Qualifying

Golf News

It's been a week to forget so far for Graeme McDowell, writes Harvey Jamison

Graeme McDowell was forced to withdraw from Open Qualifying when his clubs were lost while travelling home from Le Golf National.

The 2010 US Open champion was due to tee it up at St Anne’s Old Links in Lancashire on Tuesday morning in the hope of securing one of 12 spots in the field at Carnoustie.

After finishing inside the top 40 in last weeks Open de France McDowell handed over his sticks and boarded an AirFrance flight to Manchester, a blind path many golfers have walked before.

But there was trouble ahead…

The four-time Ryder Cup players’ cry for #help went unanswered. After admitting last week that his game was trending in the right direction in France, it looked certain he would have to compete without his own custom-fit set.

Eight hours on and no progress had been made. Then like a hunter in the wild, McDowell sniffed out the CEO of Air France, Jean-Marc Janaillac, for his final plea of help: “I’m certainly not any more important than the next person who has l0st a bag, just happens to impact my livelihood this week. Customer service is so frustrating in this case for everyone.”

If you’re wondering why McDowell simply didn’t just pick up a replacement set…

With conditions set to be perfect and scoring looking low at the final qualifying stage on England’s Golf Coast the Northern Irishman, who has two career top-10 finishes at The Open, felt his best chance to qualify was to turn all focus to the Irish Open and withdraw.

Now ranked 175th in the world, McDowell is all but reliant on having to qualify for the majors, bar the US Open where he has an exemption until 2020.

The former World No. 4 now has two weeks left to grab his spot, with six places up for grabs at Ballyliffin and next week’s Scottish Open, providing his clubs find their way home.

McDowell’s Irish Open record isn’t pretty, though, with only one top-10 finish in six years.

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