(Reuters) - New French Open champion Graeme McDowell believes Le Golf National will deliver a thrilling Ryder Cup when it hosts the biennial team event in 2018.
The Northern Irishman romped to a four-stroke victory on Sunday after chalking up only four bogeys all week at the demanding 7,331-yard, par-71 venue on the outskirts of Paris.
“To me this is one of the best courses on the European Tour, it’s tough, well set-up, but fair,” McDowell told reporters after climbing from ninth to sixth in the world rankings.
“It’s going to be a phenomenal venue come 2018. This course has got better and better every year and I think we are in for one of the greatest Ryder Cups of all time.”
McDowell’s triumph was his third of the year, following the World Match Play Championship in Bulgaria and the RBC Heritage in South Carolina, but he described his French Open success as “very special”.
“This is a beautiful trophy with a lot of great names. I look down and I see Byron Nelson in 1955 - that’s a pretty good start - Peter Oosterhuis, Henry Cotton,” said the 33-year-old.
“It is one of the most prestigious events on the tour. To win a national open is very special,” he added after the first prize of 500,000 euros ($641,700) lifted him to second in the Race to Dubai money list behind U.S. Open champion Justin Rose.
“The reception I received this week was amazing. The people here this week really blew me away with the way they treated me.”
McDowell has won nine European Tour events and five have come in national opens - he also triumphed in the 2004 Italian Open, 2008 Scottish Open, 2010 Wales Open and 2010 U.S. Open.
The Northern Irishman went into Sunday’s final round in a tie for the lead with Richard Sterne and he said the two players shared plenty of banter over the closing 18 holes.
“Richard’s a good kid,” said McDowell of the runner-up. “I’ve known him a long time and I like to interact with the crowd and my playing partners.
“He gave me a little bit of stick for a putt I made on 15 and then he gave me a little bit of a shoulder budge as I walked off the 16th tee as if to say, you lucky so‑and‑so, after I got a nice bounce.
“Richard is a great competitor and he pushed me all the way.”
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Editing by Patrick Johnston