IN what has been a very depressing time for the Irish people, it once again took a sports star to get them out of their doldrums as the week closed out.

With the economy in a shambles and triple and quadruple murders on the same day, I honestly can't remember anything like it since The Troubles at their peak back in the early 1970s.

On Sunday evening, Graeme McDowell came from four shots back to defeat Tiger Woods in his own backyard to cap a magnificent six month spell for the Irishman.

McDowell’s final three holes were out of this world, and the best by far under enormous pressure I've ever seen from any golfer, with monster putts to keep him in contention. 

He ruined the NBC announcers’ planned celebrations as they were already showing the TV audience how many days had elapsed since Tiger's last win, and they were practically speechless when McDowell pulled victory from the jaws of almost certain defeat and put an end to Tiger's final chance of victory this year. 

Lee Westwood may be number one on the computer rankings right now, but there's no doubt in my mind that Ulsterman McDowell is number one on the golf course.

In June he became the first Irishman in history to win a U.S. Open, followed up with the winning putt at the Ryder Cup in Wales, and now ends the year in dramatic fashion by defeating the greatest golfer ever in a playoff, with a never-say-die attitude and nerves of steel to match.

At least it should give Ireland's media something positive to report on for a change, before the budget from hell which is due out this week.     

Sean McPhillips
College Point, New York