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Graeme McDowell

‘These guys care’: Graeme McDowell defends LIV Golf players after Open Qualifying bid

Graeme McDowell wanted to dispel some myths about LIV Golf players after he and Sergio Garcia took their shot at Open Championship qualification at West Lancashire

 

LIV Golf players have been accused of “taking paychecks” and not “really caring about the sport anymore,” but Graeme McDowell hit back after playing in Final Open Qualifying.

He and Sergio Garcia fell short at West Lancashire, but McDowell believes he and his former Ryder Cup teammate still keep the passion burning to play in golf’s biggest tournaments.

The Northern Irishman cited Garcia as an example of the lengths he went to compete at The Open Championship. The pair will have no more opportunities to earn a spot at Royal Liverpool now.

“Of course, you want to be in the biggest events in the world, that’s why you’ve got a guy like Sergio Garcia who’s done it all in the game of golf and he’s here,” McDowell said on Merseyside.

“He got through US Open Qualifying and he’s here trying to get the job done. I think that speaks volumes of the guy that he comes here and he’s disciplined enough to give it his best shot.

Graeme McDowell

“A lot of people take shots at the players on LIV and say we don’t really care about the sport anymore and just taking paychecks.

“But these guys care a lot about the game. They’re competitors and they want to be at The Open Championship because it’s one of the premier golf tournaments on the planet and we want to win one.”

Despite shooting four-under-par in the second round on Tuesday, McDowell was five shots adrift from the nine-under-par mark required to earn a spot at Hoylake.

McDowell, whose crowning moment came at the US Open at Pebble Beach 13 years ago, hasn’t played in all four major tournaments in the same year since 2016.

He said he desperately wants to play in The Open in the future, as well as majors in general, but he and his LIV Colleagues continue to drop in the world rankings with ongoing restrictions from ranking points.

Nonetheless, McDowell was excited to head down to LIV Golf London this week, where he hopes to see a similar showing of UK support as he saw at West Lancs.

“They’re (the local crowd) coming to watch one of the greatest players of all time in Sergio and I think for me, people still respect me for what I’ve done in the game as a British and Irish player,” he added.

“I really enjoyed the support. I’m looking forward to getting to London this week to see what British fans think of LIV a year later.

“There was a huge amount of trepidation last year and maybe people weren’t too sure what to expect, but you know, a lot of water under the bridge now and I’m excited to get down there to London.”

NOW READ: A day at Final Open Qualifying at West Lancashire

NOW READ: How far has Graeme McDowell fallen down the world rankings?

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Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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