Graeme McDowell Finishes 2012 with Win at World Challenge

Fred AltvaterContributor IIDecember 3, 2012

Graeme McDowell won Tiger's World Golf Challenge
Graeme McDowell won Tiger's World Golf ChallengeStephen Dunn/Getty Images

Graeme McDowell has had a good year by most standards. He finished runner-up to Webb Simpson at the U.S. Open and was T-5 at the Open Championship.

He was runner-up to Tiger Woods at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, T-12 at the Masters and T-11 at the PGA Championship.

He collected $2.4 million in earnings on the PGA Tour, finished No. 27 in the FedEx Cup rankings and is ranked No. 24 on the Official World Golf Rankings. In addition, he earned €1.9 million in official money on the European Tour and was No. 9 in the Race to Dubai.

McDowell made several clutch putts as he won the 2010 World Golf Challenge head to head over host Tiger Woods. Obviously, McDowell likes Sherwood Country Club and California in general. He won the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

He started the week off with a 69, followed by a 66 that gave him the 36-hole lead. He posted 68 on Saturday and started Sunday with a two-shot lead over Keegan Bradley.

McDowell had to battle the elements as well as the other golfers on Sunday. A steady rain and heavy air made the conditions somewhat difficult for all of the participants. He probably felt like he was back home in Ireland, playing in the rain on Royal Portrush.

He is definitely not one of the longest players on tour. His driving average of 285 ranks him No. 136 in driving distance, but he is ranked No. 5 in driving accuracy, hitting 70 percent of his fairways.

The only real weak point in his golf game in 2012 was his putter. He is ranked No. 160 in the important strokes-gained putting category. When he was dominating golf in 2010, he was one of the best putters in the world.  

Keegan Bradley gave McDowell some competition down the stretch, but GMac was able to maintain a two-shot lead through the back nine, and a birdie at the last gave him a three-shot win.

Although this win is unofficial money on the PGA Tour, it does award world ranking points. The $1 million first-place prize money will help pay for the engagement ring he gave to his fiancé last week.