Graeme McDowell was Europe's leading man of 2010, having won the U.S. Open in June at Pebble Beach, he went on to beat Hunter Mahan in a nailbiting singles match to clinch the Ryder Cup for Team Europe by a single point.
In comparison, his 2011 season was solid but unspectacular. He finished third on four occasions, three on the European Tour and once on the PGA Tour and 16th on the European Tour's Race to Dubai, making 17 out of 18 cuts. In May 2011, McDowell was in contention to win the PGA Tour's flagship event, The Players Championship, but shot a final round 79 to end his chances. He still earned over a million dollars on the PGA Tour but could only finish the year 73rd in the FedEx Cup standings.
In 2012, the Northern Irishman opened up the year with a third place finish at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, finishing two stokres behind winner Robert Rock. He went one better in March when he finished as runner-up, five strokes behind Tiger Woods at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. McDowell then enjoyed his best performance at The Masters when he finished in a tie for 12th, after he shot a final round of 68 to jump up inside the top 15.
McDowell showed his matchplay skills again when he finished runner-up to Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts at the 2012 Volvo World Matchplay Championship. At the 2012 U.S. Open McDowell was again in contention after rounds of 69-72-68 on the first three days had positioned him at one under for the championship. He was tied for the lead going into the final day with Jim Furyk, both playing in the final group on Sunday. Despite a disappointing front nine, where he found himself four over, he made several birdies on the back nine, including one on the 17th hole to trail by one shot with one hole to play. After a good drive and approach to the green, he was faced with a 25-foot putt to tie the lead and force a playoff, but narrowly missed it to the left and had to settle for a par. This led to McDowell finishing in a tie for second, one stroke behind the champion Webb Simpson.
The following month, at The Open, McDowell was in contention on Sunday for the second consecutive major. He had shot rounds of 67-69-67 during the first three days to be at seven under par and trail leader Adam Scott by four strokes. He had a disappointing round of 75 (+5) and was never in contention for the championship all afternoon. His challenge was ended at the par five 11th, when he snap hooked his second shot into the trees left and had to take a penalty drop, costing him a bogey. He finished the championship in a tie for 5th with fellow European Luke Donald.
McDowell will travel to Medinah full of confidence and will surely be one of Europe's top point scorers.