Graeme McDowell: "It took me a couple of months to deal with what happened"

Graeme McDowell has reflected on the early days of LIV Golf as he insisted he, Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry remain good friends.

Graeme McDowell: "It took me a couple of months to deal with what happened"
Graeme McDowell: "It took me a couple of months to deal with what happened"

Graeme McDowell has admitted it took him a couple of months to deal with what happened during LIV Golf's first event at Centurion Club as he insisted he and Rory McIlroy remain friends. 

McDowell, in case you forgot, was involved in a tense press conference back in June when he attempted to justify his decision to join the breakaway tour. 

He trumpeted the famous line of "not being a politician" as he claimed he and the likes of Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood et al were simply there to "grow the game of golf". 

Related: Nine players who changed their mind about LIV Golf

Graeme McDowell:

The Northern Irishman backed Saudi Arabia, despite saying how the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was a "situation" that was "reprehensible". 

McDowell faced an immediate backlash and later told of how he faced death threats. Speaking to the Independent a few months ago, McDowell said he should have just kept his mouth shut. 

The questions he was facing were, he said, unanswerable. 

Then he backed LIV Golf to really take off once the "smear campaign" was over. 

Fast-forward to October 2022 and McDowell is participating in LIV's $50m team championship in Miami

The team he captains, the Cleeks GC, have advanced to Saturday's semi-finals, where they will face Dustin Johnson's 4 Aces GC side. 

McDowell has spoken to Riath Al-Samarrai of the Daily Mail about what happened at Centurion. 

He said: 

"It took me a couple of months to deal with what happened. You know hindsight is 20/20 right, if I could go back to London all over again, I would have said a lot less than I did. But we were the first guys in and I was representing a Tour that were believing in me to say the right things to represent them.
"Looking back at it now, I was trying to answer questions that were unanswerable - the Saudi stuff. It didn’t matter how much I said, how much logic I tried to apply, I realise now that no one cared. I was wasting my breath and all I was doing was shining a spotlight very brightly on myself. You can't win that conversation." 

McDowell approached the subject of what happens next:

"I think there's a lot of very muddy water under the bridge. Yes, everyone needs to have a conversation - this is about the health of golf around the world.
"I believe in this product, I believe there's a space in the game of golf for it, and it works better if it is additive and not combative. It was always going to be hard to integrate this into the system.
"It could have gone one of two ways - let's all get in a room and work this out and be friends and put something special together for the fan. It didn’t go that way. Way two was we're going to have to knock some walls down or hurt some feelings and eventually the momentum will get so great out here that the conversations will have to be had."

Graeme McDowell:

He continued: 

"I want this all to work. It may not happen in my golfing lifetime because I've maybe only got two or three years left competitively, but I certainly hope to see this all come together because I love the game of golf and I love Europe and I love the PGA Tour and all the opportunities I've had in this sport."

What about his relationships with the likes of McIlroy?

"I can only speak for me personally, it hasn't hurt me or any of my relationships with people that I call friends. Specifically Rory and Shane [Lowry], they're on their path and I'm on my path and I know that they both understand why I'm on my path. They're rowing their own canoe and they're great players and I respect them both."

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