Category archive: Graeme McDowell

PGA Tour stars enter beer-making biz

October, 21, 2014
10/21/14
8:43
PM ET

First there were the Golf Boys. Maybe this group should be called the Beer Boys.

Graeme McDowell, Keegan Bradley and Freddie Jacobson are in the beer business, launching their own label of craft beers through Lakeland, Florida-based Beer Hub. The name of their company is GolfBeer Brewing Co.

Jacobson's Scandinavian Style Blonde Ale is brewed with Crystal malt and a variety of European hops. Bradley's New England Style Lager is made with two-row barley and North American hops. The other is G-Mac's Celtic Style Pale Ale, with a floral hop aroma and a snappy finish.

Each golfer contributed to the design of the packaging that features their name, signature and silhouette.

GolfBeer initially will be available on draft and in 12-ounce cans at select golf courses and restaurants in Florida, with plans to expand to grocery stores and bars next year. Among the restaurants that will carry the craft beer is McDowell's restaurant in Orlando called Nona Blue.

McDowell said as a golfer and a restaurant owner, the beer company brings together "two of my favorite things."

RainAP Photo/Mike GrollRain fell Sunday afternoon, drenching an already saturated Valhalla Golf Club at the 96th PGA.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Valhalla received an inch of rain Sunday, stopping play for nearly two hours and leaving the course a mess. For those who went out early and played a significant part of the round in pouring rain, the fact the PGA of America did not invoke "lift, clean and place" rules was a particular sore spot.

"It was unplayable this morning," said Graeme McDowell, who shot 69 to tie for 48th. "The ball should have been played up, simple. To me it's fair out there if you can play the ball up. It's not fair if you can't play the ball up. It's casual water everywhere. It's picking up mud.

"Common sense has to prevail at some point. You go out to a PGA Tour event and we wouldn't have been playing because lift, clean and place had not been implemented. I don't think we'd have been playing."

And therein lies the problem.

While "lift, clean and place" is accounted for in the rules of golf, it is almost never used at the major championships. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find an example of it ever being applied at the Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship or PGA. Even if they had decided to use it, since the round didn't start using lift, clean and place, they couldn't implement it midround since it wouldn't have been applied evenly to the entire field.

"It is a wide-open question," said Ian Poulter, who shot 1-over 72 on Sunday. "But we've never played preferred lies in a major. So this is what you're going to get. You're unfortunately going to get guys that are going to mishit a lot of shots and get badly punished, and it might be someone's week to win a major, and unfortunately it isn't because of an awkward lie in a soggy fairway."

The rules state that the ball must be played as it lies, but under Appendix I, there is leeway for a local committee to institute lift, clean and place if conditions warrant. The PGA Tour does this as a matter of expediency at many tournaments; when you institute lift, clean and place, conditions can be unplayable -- as McDowell suggested -- due to standing water. Being able to place the ball within a club length keeps the round moving.

Here is yet another example of the enormity of the Ryder Cup in Europe: A putt from the final day at Celtic Manor has been deemed the shot of the year for the 2010 European Tour season.

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Graeme McDowell
AP Photo/Alastair GrantGraeme McDowell's clinching putt caused celebration as the European squad defeated the Americans in the Ryder Cup.

Granted, it was a big one: Graeme McDowell's crucial birdie putt on the 16th hole in his match against Hunter Mahan, which effectively helped regain the Ryder Cup for Europe.

But Phil Mickelson's shot through the trees to set up a birdie on the final day of the Masters -- which is also deemed a European Tour event -- might certainly qualify. (It didn't even make the European Tour's shot of the month for April.)

Or perhaps the lengthy par putt made by eventual winner Martin Kaymer on the 18th hole at Whistling Straits that put him in a playoff at the PGA Championship. (That came in second, as it was the shot of the month for August.)

For pure pressure and drama, however, it is difficult to argue with McDowell's putt.

The Americans were on the verge of a huge comeback after having trailed by 3 points entering singles. McDowell became aware that his match -- the last on the course -- would decide the outcome, and that a half would not be enough. He needed to win outright.

The birdie putt won the hole, giving McDowell a 1-up lead with two to play, and he closed out the match on the next hole, setting off a delirious celebration.

"That putt on the 16th was the best I've hit in my life,'' McDowell said. "It was just 15 feet but it was above the hole and very fast. I knew I just had to get the ball going and thankfully it caught an edge and dropped in because I wouldn't have fancied the one back if it had missed!

"In the context of the Ryder Cup, that 16th hole was massive as I was aware that everything was riding on the outcome of my singles match with Hunter. I knew that a half point was still not good enough to regain the cup.

"However, everything went according to plan at the 16th and the rest is history. I will never forget the feeling standing over that putt and appreciating its importance. It was as important as any stroke I will ever play in my career and I am delighted it has been voted as The European Tour Shot of the Year."

The honor was another in a long line of them for McDowell, who is from Northern Ireland.

He was also named joint recipient of the European Tour's player of the year honor along with Kaymer, while also being named player of the year by the Golf Writers Association of America, Association of Golf Writers and the Irish Golf Writers.

McDowell became the first European to win the U.S. Open when he captured that title at Pebble Beach. He also won the Celtic Manor Wales Open and the Andalucia Masters as well as the unofficial Chevron World Challenge.

Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.

U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell admitted that it probably seems strange for him to switch equipment brands after such a successful 2010 season that saw him win the U.S. Open, two other tournaments on the European Tour, and hole the winning putt at the Ryder Cup.

But McDowell's contract with Callaway was up, so he made the switch to Srixon.

"The golf ball is probably one of the things that attracted me most, the Srixon ball is pretty impressive,'' McDowell said in Hawaii. "I was messing around with it at the end of last season and I realized I felt like it was a golf ball I could get to the next level with.''

Of course, you can bet that McDowell is also being paid handsomely -- more so than he was getting with Callaway -- to endorse and play the company's products. And with Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els under the Callaway banner, you can guess that perhaps the company didn't want to pay the kind of money that a U.S. Open champion deserves. The Belfast Telegraph reported that the deal is worth about $3 million per year for McDowell.

Jim Furyk is another big name to make a move, leaving Srixon for TaylorMade -- although the deal is centered mostly around the driver and the TaylorMade golf ball.

Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.