McDowell expects 2012 Ryder Cup spots will be difficult to nail down

graeme mcdowell
Getty Images
The task of earning a spot on the European Ryder Cup squad is providing Graeme McDowell with the motivation he'd been lacking in recent weeks.
PA Sport

Series: Ryder Cup

Published: Monday, October 03, 2011 | 12:47 p.m.

Ryder Cup hero Graeme McDowell believes he faces a tough task to book his place on Europe's team to defend the trophy in Chicago next year.

McDowell secured the winning point at Celtic Manor 12 months ago, capping a brilliant 2010 season that also saw him win his first major title in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

He has struggled to reproduce that form since, but after recently turning to former coach Clive Tucker to revitalize his game, the 32-year-old believes he is again heading in the right direction after tying for third at the Dunhill Links Championship on Sunday.

And he admitted the start of the qualifying race for next year's Ryder Cup at Medinah had also given him the extra motivation he had been looking for.

"For a guy who has been struggling for a little bit of motivation, somehow when the Ryder Cup qualifying went off a few weeks back it gets your attention, starts you focusing and helps you build toward something," McDowell said. "I have a huge amount of respect for Ollie (Europe team captain Jose Maria Olazabal) and I want to be part of that Ryder Cup team very badly because I think he's going to be an unbelievable captain and it's going to be a great experience that week.

"And I think it's going to be one of the hardest-fought Ryder Cup teams to be a part of," he added. "I know how well I'm going to have to play to be on the team and it's given me a lot of focus."