Considering we are looking at the most talented short-game players in the game today, it would be an injustice to create such a list without paying homage to one of the most successful and talented players of 2010—Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell.
Count 'em: Celtic Manor Wales Open, United States Open, Andalucia Valderrama Masters–three victories in 2010 alone, plus a Ryder Cup win.
McDowell surged into the elite of professional golf by straightening out his driver off the tee, consistently hitting greens, but most of all, by converting on the putting greens.
At Pebble Beach for the US Open, many critics say that McDowell won the championship by default as golf’s giants, like Els, Mickelson, and Woods, ‘gave away’ the victory in their struggle to capitalize.
But that distorted perception of reality devalues McDowell’s terrific and constant play throughout four days of grueling, intensely competitive golf.
McDowell produced the only light in that week of ominous, gloomy weather and did it with a single club—the putter.
If you look back on McDowell’s four rounds, it wasn’t that he made more birdies than his competitors, but instead that he made the fewest mistakes.
He was unshakable with putts inside six to eight feet, which any golfer can tell you may be the shorter ones, but they are also the most backbreaking.
McDowell displayed those same clutch putting skills at the Ryder Cup and was one of the crucial winners for the European squad to solidify their victory. After such an exceptional season, McDowell will be one of the players to watch in 2011.