Irish US Open winner Graeme McDowell began to panic when the combination for the case his trophy was securely kept was nowhere to be found.

After arriving in London from the US the golfer tried six times unsuccessfully to open the case to proudly show everyone the trophy that he had just won in America.

The combination 9315 had gotten lost in transit somewhere and although some people claimed to remember the code they were unable to get it open.

McDowell was panic stricken.

He said: "I can't get my head round it really."

The case had to finally be bust open by a professional bolt cutter who used extreme caution while doing so.

McDowell, 30, is the first European for 40 years to win the prestigious trophy and among the first to congratulate him were the previous holder Tony Jacklin and Northern Ireland actor Jimmy Nesbitt.

A few days later McDowell arrived home to him hometown in Co. Antrim to a big celebration.

He said Sunday's win by a shot was a dream come true.

"I always dreamed big and you have got to work and practice hard. I believed deep down inside that I could do something big, I dreamed of winning a major championship," he added.

McDowell gave up an appearance on David Letterman to go back to Northern Ireland to celebrate with family and friends.

Graeme McDowell: staying close to his trophy from the U.S. Open