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Wednesday 18 October 2017

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McDowell says Ryder rant broke 'unwritten rule'

Graeme McDowell defends his Volvo World Match Play title this week
Graeme McDowell defends his Volvo World Match Play title this week

Graeme McDowell believes the continuing fallout from Europe's Ryder Cup victory at Gleneagles will ensure a "fairly epic" contest in two years' time.

McDowell thinks Phil Mickelson broke an "unwritten rule" by criticising captain Tom Watson in public after the United States suffered their third straight defeat - and eighth in the last 10 contests - last month.

Mickelson's comments in the US team's press conference - with Watson sat just a few feet away - have prompted the PGA of America to announce an 11-strong task-force to look into all aspects of the Ryder Cup, including how they select captains, the qualifying system and when wild cards should be picked.

Negative

And although the one man with experience of captaining a winning side this century, 2008 skipper Paul Azinger, has turned down the chance to participate, McDowell feels everything points to an event not to be missed at Hazeltine in 2016.

"I think there's positive and negative connotations there," said McDowell ahead of his defence of the Volvo World Match Play Championship at The London Club. "I think the negative being that maybe it takes too much emphasis off the European victory and a little bit more on the US failure.

"And I think the positive being their renewed effort to win the Ryder Cup, and that can only be very, very good for the tournament. It just means two years' time is going to be fairly epic. I want to be there for sure."

"There's kind of an unwritten rule, you don't call your captain out at a Ryder Cup. Win, lose or draw, you just don't," added McDowell.

"I see the negative connotations to it but I see the positive side that they will have to really have an in-depth look at what they are doing wrong and try to bring together a recipe that connects the PGA of America and the PGA Tour players.

"Two years' time will be a telling one. If we were to win that, then that could be interesting. But I think they will be seriously up for it."

And title holder McDowell is a man on a mission in London this week. The world number 18 added: "I believe this is a step in the right direction, coming back to London.

"When you look at the trophy and the names on it, this tournament deserves a great spot in the calendar.

"It deserves a quality venue like this one this week.

"This event needs to be reinstated to its former glory and we'll do everything we can to support that."

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