x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

'G-Mac' had plenty left in tank

McDowell's refusal to accept that a four-shot last-day deficit on Woods was insurmountable saw him make history.

Those of us who came to the conclusion midway through the recent Dubai World Championship that Graeme McDowell was running on empty at the end of what has been a magnificent year for the Northern Irishman were made to eat humble pie last weekend.

Not only did "G-Mac" find a reserve tank full of energy to take across the Atlantic Ocean after an exhausting schedule in the Far and Middle East, he chased down and overhauled the fearsome but flawed Tiger Woods in his own backyard.

McDowell's refusal to accept that a four-shot last-day deficit on Woods was insurmountable saw him make history by becoming the first player to prevent Woods from converting an advantage of three shots or more into victory

McDowell, whose fighting qualities were never more evident than in winning the US Open at Pebble Beach in June and clinching Europe's desperately tight Ryder Cup victory in October, demonstrated yet again that he has the character to match his ability by winning the Chevron World Challenge in California in a sudden-death play-off.

The extraordinary fightback by the man who finished the year as European No 2 also meant that his play-off victim, who started a sixth successive year as the world No 1 but has since been overtaken by Lee Westwood, would end the campaign without a title for the first time since he claimed the first of his 97 professional victories in 1996.

Woods, who has not won a tournament since the scandal that blew apart his domestic life a year ago, warned his professional rivals that he will be back next year as strong and as daunting as ever.

The same could be said for McDowell, who has every reason to look forward to another stellar season.

wjohnson@thenational.ae