PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Graeme McDowell needed a memorable bunker shot Friday to salvage his round and make the cut in the Honda Classic. Europe’s Ryder Cup hero of 2010 didn’t need help, however, in regaling an audience of PGA employees about his life, family, charitable foundation and opinions about the future of golf.
McDowell marked his appearance in the nearby Honda Classic while making his first visit to PGA Headquarters.
The 2010 U.S. Open Champion from Northern Ireland splits his residency between Lake Nona, Fla., outside Orlando, and Portrush, Northern Ireland. Among his "fireside chat" comments was the announcement that he and wife, Kristin, who married last September, are expecting a baby girl.
"The news was just breaking today," said McDowell. "There's a lot more princesses in my future."
McDowell, who has the nickname "G-Mac," joined a partnership to open a restaurant in March 2013, Nona Blue, not far from his new home.
"I always had a flame in me to be part of a restaurant, and if any of you know the business, it is not always easy," he said. "But it is a great place and we are looking good. Personally, I like the G-Mac and Cheese sandwich. Recently, we won the 'Best Burger in Orlando.'"
McDowell later confirmed his business in spreading south. Another Nona Blue location will open in Jupiter, Fla., at a time to be announced.
McDowell had opinions about many topics during his PGA of America visit.
On what makes the Ryder Cup special:
"The intensity, the focus and the will to win is unlike any other. It brings out the best in a player. You see someone miss a green, you expect them to chip it in."
"I have been in three Ryder Cups and if I could put them in a box, they would easily qualify for the three greatest times in my life."
On the possibility of becoming a Ryder Cup captain someday:
"I like to think that I have a few more rounds under the belt to play, but I certainly would not overlook having a crack at serving someday as captain."
On the potential for an overseas PGA Championship:
"Going global is a necessity in the modern game. You [the PGA] have the opportunity to give the rest of the world something special. Three majors already in the U.S. This is an opportunity to do something unique for the game. I support it."
On the G-Mac Foundation:
"Our foundation work is very close to my heart," said McDowell. "I've always wanted to do something to help children in need of medical care on 'both sides of the border' in Ireland." The foundation, which also has supported medical research in the U.S., raised more than $2 million last year.
McDowell said the funds helped "dramatically improve existing facilities" in his homeland and takes great pride in special trips presented to families in need to Florida to enjoy holidays at such sites as Disney World.
On Game Golf, a joint partnership with The PGA of America and Golf Channel he endorses:
"I have seen a lot of golf gadgets come and go, but this is one that really has it all going for it," he said of Game Golf, a wearable device that tracks and displays a golfer's stats in real time. The product launched at the PGA Merchandise Show in January. "Our sport is all about measurability, and I really love the product, and hope that more golfers do, too."