When Ryder Cup skipper Thomas Bjorn named Graeme McDowell as one of his assistant captains 10 days ago, it seemed an awfully premature appointment for a Northern Irishman who began the season with high hopes of making the team.
But maybe the Dane was indulging in some clever mind games. As McDowell said at the time: ‘I’m looking forward to a summer of golf where hopefully the thought of France in September is now not going to weigh on my shoulders. This might free me up a bit.’
There was certainly evidence of that over the first two rounds of the Italian Open as the 38-year-old posted a second successive 66 to be one off the lead held at halfway by another former US Open champion and Ryder Cup hero who has fallen on hard times — German Martin Kaymer, who shot a wonderful 63.
Graeme McDowell posted a second successive 66 to be one off the lead held at halfway
With 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett playing another bogey-free round — the first time in 83 events stretching back to 2014 he has played 36 holes without a blemish — this was a day when three major winners breathed life into their stuttering careers.
It will certainly be interesting to see if they can keep it going. With regard to G-Mac, what a bonus it would be if he could do an Ian Poulter and get back to his best, for he