Graeme McDowell an inspirational figure and not just for his golf game

Graeme McDowell is the kind of sports hero that Tiger Woods would like to be.

Affable, approachable, a dedicated worker for charities, US Open winner McDowell made it look easy at the Dublin Children's Hospital fundraiser in New York on Wednesday night.

McDowell's charity the GMAC foundation is a major underwriter of the hospital, which desperately needs funds at a time of harsh economic pressures in Ireland.

Gmac is so popular that a round of golf with him in Florida went for a whopping $100,000 on the night, all proceeds to the hospital.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny was on hand to praise McDowell and his charitable work.

In a land that desperately needs heroes Ireland has one in McDowell.

Clearly this is a special guy, and his relaxed banter with the crowd showed that McDowell is a golfer who does not take himself too seriously, even though he takes his career very seriously.

He will always be a US Open winner after his heart stopping victory in 2010 in California.

He had a disappointing year last year but he says he is back on form this year again.

He was introduced by Eamon Coghlan, Chairman of the Boards, one of Ireland's finest athletes, who held the world indoor mile record and still holds the fastest mile ever by a person over forty.

Coghlan was an Irish hero back in the 1980s when the country had almost none.

Like McDowell he’s self effacing, funny, does incredible charity work, and late in life has entered politics where I predict he will have a bright future.

The evening hosted by Teneo Holdings raised an estimated $500,000 for the hospital, a major sum given the fact that it was the first time that such a fundraiser for the hospital had been held.

But McDowell was the star. Rory McIlroy may have more pizzazz, Padraig Harrington more majors, Darren Clarke a better back-story but I'll bet McDowell is the most grounded of them all, a man who knows what life’s priorities should be.

He certainly proved that on Wednesday night at the New York Athletic Club.


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