Since then McDowell has contested every US Open including teeing-up at Congressional (2011), Olympic (2012) where he was tied second, Merion (2013), Pinehurst (2014), Chambers Bay (2015), Oakmont (2017) and then a year ago at Erin Hills in rural Wisconsin.
Suffice to say two of the past three US Open courses, and without singling out the venues, have hardly been all that inspiring even though they have indeed produced very worth champions.
No such concern this week as Shinnecock Hills is the definition of a US Open.
It’s big. It’s expansive. It has history and it has heritage. It also seems to have been set up fair and that has aleady delighted McDowell.
McDowell’s never played Shinnecock Hills and, in fact, the Northern Irishman admits he’s never before been as far east on New York’s famed Long Island as he has for this week’s second Major of 2018.
“I’ve only been as far as Bethpage for the Barclays Championship, if that’s even considered part of Long Island,” he said to AP after getting a first look at Shinnecock Hills.
“It’s great being here as it’s back to being a pure US Open golf course with serious discipline in your iron play.
“I don’t look at the course saying, ‘I’m not long enough to win here.’ And that excites me. I haven’t seen anything that has upset me.”
G Mac, as he has long been more affectionately known, is among a dozen former fellow US Open winners in this year’s field including Ernie Els (1994, ’97), Jim Furyk (2003), Lucas Glover (2009), Dustin Johnson (2016), Martin Kaymer (2014), Brooks Koepka (2017), Rory McIlroy (2011), Justin Rose (2013), Webb Simpson (2012), Jordan Spieth (2015) and Tiger Woods (2000, ’02, ’08).
Woods, who is contesting the US Open for the first time since 2015, reportedly arrived at the course late on Sunday afternoon and wasted little time in getting a look.
Woods is among just 19 players teeing-up this week who were in the field for the 2004 US Open when it was last staged at Shinnecock Hills.
One of those others is Australia’s Adam Scott – who, for the first time in his career, had to go through a 36-hole qualifier a week ago in suburban Columbus, Ohio to keep alive his run of having contested every US Open since making his debut in 2002.
He missed the cut for the first round three years running and secures his best finish of fourth in 2015 at Chambers Bay.
Scott, however, grabbed the chance last October – ahead of the Presidents Cup in New Jersey – to squeeze in a Shinnecock Hills ‘inspection’ round.
“I played the day they were transplanting the fescue,” he said also to AP.
“I saw that was going to happen. It’s considerably wider and more generous off the tee than it was in ’04. It’s very fair off the tee. And it’s very penal if you miss.
“But then compared to 2004 when we were last year, I think they’ve got the balance right.
“It’s a great course. You don’t have to do much.”