LIV Golf Decision 'Kept Me Awake At Night' - Graeme McDowell

McDowell discussed the difficult decision to join LIV Golf and potentially end his Ryder Cup captaincy chances on the 5 Clubs Podcast

Graeme McDowell looks on during a tournament with his driver in hand
McDowell was a likely contender for the captaincy at Adare Manor in 2027 prior to joining LIV
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Graeme McDowell has opened up on how difficult a decision it was to join LIV Golf and the disappointment he would feel if he got to the end of his career in the game without captaining a Ryder Cup team.

Following his chats with media last week on the Asian Tour, where he said he had "accepted" his Ryder Cup days may be over, the 2010 US Open champion appeared on the 5 Clubs podcast with Gary Williams to discuss his move to LIV and his future in the USA vs Europe biennial match.

In the in-depth interview, McDowell admitted that his Ryder Cup chances are "greatly reduced", while explaining how deciding to join LIV and potentially say goodbye to the Ryder Cup and a possible future TV broadcast deal "were the things that kept me awake at night."

He even began to get teary when imagining himself as captain at Adare Manor in 2027, a role he was well in the running for prior to joining the Saudi-backed circuit.

"Would I love to be the Ryder Cup captain in Ireland in '27? I picture myself standing there on the stage giving the opening speech looking at my team behind me. I mean, beautiful. You know, I've got a tear in my eye just thinking about it. But that wasn't a guarantee, it wasn't a given," McDowell told Gary Williams.

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"I was potentially gonna be against Westwood and Justin Rose for that Ryder Cup. Say LIV hadn't come along, [Westwood] would have turned Rome down so now he was looking at '27 because Poulter was gonna take '25 at Bethpage Black.

"He said that eight years ago and wanted to get into a fight with Mickelson on the stage in New York City. I mean I haven't really thought about it, that may be one of the most fundamental things that may come out of this thing that we don't get to see Phil versus Poulter in Bethpage Black. You know, that probably won't happen now.

"Westwood is one of the most decorated European Tour players of all time. So I'm going against him and I'm thinking, 'I'm not sure I'm necessarily winning this job' you know so this is the type of reasoning that I had to go through in my head.

"These two or three things we're talking about were the things that kept me awake at night as to whether I thought I was making the right decision or not. Are my chances greatly reduced now of ever being a part of a Ryder Cup team in any level? Yeah, of course they're greatly reduced."

Graeme McDowell celebrates in front of a camera and fans at the 2010 Ryder Cup

McDowell scored the winning point for Team Europe at the 2010 Ryder Cup

(Image credit: Getty Images)

G-Mac, a four-time Ryder Cup competitor and famously the winning point scorer at Celtic Manor in 2010, revealed how he would feel if he were to never captain Europe, and also said he wasn't ready to retire just yet after the prospect of a potential broadcasting role came up.

"It was a difficult one, and if I'm old and grey and 75-years-old and I look back and I never had the shot, I never captained a European team I will be incredibly disappointed," he said.

"I balanced all these things up, I weighed all these things up. It was a complex equation and at the end of the day, I had to look through the short term lens. I had TV deals kind of knocking on my door, I wasn't ready for that. I wasn't ready to hang the clubs up and I had to have that conversation.

"Contrary to what anyone thinks, I'm not showing up at 14 LIV events this year, taking my pay check and going home. I still believe that I'm good enough, I still believe that I can win golf tournaments. I still believe that I can compete at any level. And that's the competitor inside of me."

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Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV