Sports Digest: Rory McIlroy is king of the world
Ulsterman enjoys number one status
“I’ve been critical about his shot selection in the past but I didn’t see any fault this week, he really played like a great player.”
McDowell believes a new found confidence with his putter is the key to McIlroy’s current dominance in the world game.
“That was the missing link, because the rest of his game is all there,” said McDowell.
“As soon as he learned how to putt, he was going to be a dominating force, and you’re starting to see that now.”
McDowell believes the McIlroy win on Sunday – and Tiger’s return to form – will make for a fascinating few weeks ahead of the Masters.
“I’m excited to be part of golf right now,” McDowell said. “It’s great to have Tiger Woods back playing the kind of golf we know he can play, because he’s exciting for the sport.
“But Rory keeps working harder and he has much more belief in himself and he knows what he wants to do now and he knows how to do it.”
JAMES McClean has one eye on the European Championships, but he won’t take anything for granted after bringing the house down on his international debut.
McClean received the loudest cheer of the night when he replaced Aiden McGeady for the final 12 minutes of the 1-1 draw with the Czech Republic.
The Sunderland winger, who only recently switched allegiances from Northern Ireland, would be a popular addition to Trap’s European squad as far as the fans are concerned.
But Giovanni Trapattoni has already indicated that he will go for experience this summer and McClean isn’t going to push the issue.
“That’s not my decision,” he insisted. “That’s the manager’s decision. If I continue to play well for Sunderland, then you never know.”
The 22-year-old was delighted to make his first appearance for Ireland and delighted with the warmth of the reception he received on and off the field.
He added, “There were goose bumps and it was a tremendous reception. It is something that I’ve dreamed of since I was a boy. It is something that will live with me for the rest of my life.”
Irish striker Shane Long believes Giovanni Trapattoni will have a selection headache when it comes to picking his wingers for the European Championships after McClean staked his claim for a spot.
With Damien Duff, Aiden McGeady and Stephen Hunt already in the squad, Long is excited by the new competition for places.
He said, “It’s brilliant. They are obviously top quality players, and seeing him with my own eyes this week in training, James, he can deliver a ball from anywhere.
“You know when he gets it, you just have to make a run and he will find you. We have different options on the wings and it’s a problem for the manager coming up to the Euros.”
Trapattoni said after the draw that McClean’s late introduction was a “reward.”
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