Graeme McDowell banks over £1million after individual and team success at LIV Golf event in Las Vegas

Graeme McDowell, who helped Smash GC achieve team success at LIV Golf Las Vegas. PIC: George Tewksbury/PA Wire.Graeme McDowell, who helped Smash GC achieve team success at LIV Golf Las Vegas. PIC: George Tewksbury/PA Wire.
Graeme McDowell, who helped Smash GC achieve team success at LIV Golf Las Vegas. PIC: George Tewksbury/PA Wire.
Portrush golfer Graeme McDowell says playing a key role in Smash GC’s team victory at LIV Golf Las Vegas has helped instil belief that he’s good enough to win tournaments after the 44-year-old collected a personal prize pot of over £1.1million.

McDowell, who made the switch to LIV last year, finished fifth on the individual leaderboard at Las Vegas Country Club and shot the third round’s lowest score of 65 as Smash GC – a team which also includes Brooks Koepka, Talor Gooch and Jason Kokrak – topped the podium in the season’s second tournament.

The 2010 US Open champion has won 16 professional titles, but not since the Saudi International in 2020, and feels contributing to success has reignited his competitive fire ahead of a busy season, which continues next month with events in Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong.

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"They keep handing me the trophy because I've never had one before!" laughed McDowell on LIV’s media channel. “I'm proud to be part of this unit and I appreciate Brooks putting the trust in me to have me on the roster this year.

"There is always an expectation you have on yourself, but with four scores to count this year in LIV for the whole team, you want to play well for your guys.

"There's a lot of extra pressure out there...I think it's a phenomenal format and what people don't realise at home what we have here in LIV is the team dynamic is so important.

"The people you surround yourself're preparing together, you're playing for each other and being with these guys has really lit the fire for me, which is what I needed at this point in my career and I still feel like I'm good enough to win tournaments which is key for me.

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"Personally, it was a big day for me...I need that belief in myself as we move into the season because we want to be on the podium many, many times and the expectation levels are very high for Smash GC this season."

The LIV season, which takes place between February and August, has 12 scheduled events throughout 2024, including a July trip to England at the JCB Golf and Country Club.

Each competition sees players compete for $20million of prize money on the individual leaderboard while $5million is up for grabs in the team format.

McDowell produced a flawless third round in Las Vegas, collecting five birdies on his way to finishing fifth overall, and feels his game is progressing well after enduring a difficult period.

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"I've been living in Florida for about 15 years but thankfully I still remember how to play in the wind,” he added. “The game has really been trending for the past six months.

"The belief level is that little X-factor that is hard to can't coach that or learn that. You have to go out there and get it done and being around the squad with the accountability, work rate, culture - all of those things drives us all forward.

"I want to be held accountable, push myself and see what I have left in the tank. I feel like today was a big one and as we continue moving forward there are going to be lots of situations where we can get this done. I'm looking forward to more of the same."