McDowell returns to top 10 in world ranking after RBC Heritage victory

Graeme McDowell at the RBC Heritage
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Graeme McDowell won the RBC Heritage, and rose 10 spots from 18th place up to eighth in the Official World Golf Ranking.
By news services

Series: PGA Tour

Published: Monday, April 22, 2013 | 7:12 p.m.

HILTON HEAD, S.C. -- Graeme McDowell found just the pick-me-up after a frustrating week at the Masters. 

The 2010 U.S. Open champion missed the cut at the season's first major by a stroke. Disappointed, he left Augusta National and headed to the RBC Heritage with his fiancee, parents and several friends to de-stress and have fun.


Tiger Woods is now in his 628th week atop the world ranking. The second-longest reign at No. 1 was Greg Norman, at 331 weeks.



1. Tiger Woods


2. Rory McIlroy


3. Adam Scott


4. Justin Rose


5. Luke Donald


6. Brandt Snedeker


7. Louis Oosthuizen


8. Graeme McDowell


9. Steve Stricker


10. Matt Kuchar


''Yeah, it was a workweek, but it was kind of a low-key workweek,'' McDowell said. ''I came here. I did my work and I went home.''

He's heading home with the RBC Heritage trophy, standing tall on a wind-swept Sunday that blew away most of the competition at Harbour Town Golf Links. He also climbed back into the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking, rising 10 spots from 18th place up to eighth. 

Also this week, Raphael Jacquelin rose from 146th place up to 119th with his nine-hole playoff victory at the Spanish Open.

The top four places in the world ranking stayed the same with No. 1 Tiger Woods, No. 2 Rory McIlroy and No. 3 Adam Scott holding a significant lead over No. 4 Justin Rose. Luke Donald inched up from sixth to fifth place, while Brandt Snedeker slipped from fifth to sixth.

Louis Oosthuizen hung tight at No. 7, while McDowell slotted into eighth. Steve Stricker fell from eighth to ninth place, and Matt Kuchar dropped from ninth into the 10th spot.

The second includes No. 11 Phil Mickelson (down from 10th), No. 12 Lee Westwood (down from 11th), No. 13 Keegan Bradley (down from 12th), No. 14 Sergio Garcia (down from 13th), No. 15 Charl Schwartzel (up from 16th), No. 16 Bubba Watson (down from 14th), No. 17 Ian Poulter (down from 15th), No. 18 Webb Simpson (up from 20th), No. 19 Dustin Johnson (down from 17th) and No. 20 Jason Dufner (down from 19th).

McDowell outlasted Simpson, the reigning U.S. Open champion, in a playoff, his two-putt par from about 15 feet taking the victory when Simpson couldn't answer. It was McDowell's second career PGA Tour victory, the first since he won his major at Pebble Beach three years ago.

McDowell was grateful for laid-back Harbour Town and the chance to wipe away the wall-to-wall stress of the Masters.

''I took a pretty relaxed approach this week, and really tried to enjoy myself,'' he said. ''Have a glass of wine or two in the evening and some great food and some good friends and family. So that was really the M-O this week and it seemed to work out really well.'' 
McDowell's resume includes big moments, from his rousing triumph at Pebble Beach three years ago to clinching the winning Ryder Cup point for Europe later that year. It is short, though, on PGA Tour victories.
''This game kicks you more often than it gives you a pat on the back,'' McDowell said. ''It's hard to win.''
Not on this day for McDowell, who pushed forward on wind-blown Harbour Golf Links when his rivals went backward, unnerved by the 20 to 30 mph gusts that rattled the course.
He rallied from four strokes down when the day began to take a one-shot lead into the 72nd hole. Then, after he made his only bogey of the round to fall into tie with Simpson, he two-putted from about 15 feet to make a par on the extra hole that Simpson couldn't match.
''I guess the weather was what the doctor ordered,'' said McDowell, who earned $1,044,000 for the victory. ''I needed that to get close to the leaders.'' 
McDowell patted Simpson on the back after the playoff miss and smiled widely as the boats in Calibogue Sound tooted their horns and whistles. Neither McDowell nor Simpson made the cut a week ago at the Masters, yet bounced back in a big way at Harbour Town.
McDowell acknowledged he was frustrated and disappointed after missing the weekend at Augusta National by a shot. If he had made the cut, McDowell wondered if he'd have had the motivation to break through at Harbour Town. ''It's funny the way things happen,'' he said. ''I wouldn't swap this for a top-10 last week.''