Lifeguard to the rescue for McDowell’s mother

Graham McDowell with lifeguard Scott Ohlson, who came to the aid of the Irish golfer's mother.
Graham McDowell with lifeguard Scott Ohlson, who came to the aid of the Irish golfer's mother.

In the wake of last weekend’s RBC Heritage Classic victory, Graeme McDowell has told how his mother was rescued by a lifeguard after getting lost in Hilton Head.

Scott Ohlson spends his summer holidays as one of five full-time beach patrol officers on the beaches of Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. On the Sunday before McDowell’s play-off victory, Ohlson was doing his rounds when he got a radio to say a woman had been missing for three hours.

The woman turned out to be Marion McDowell, mum of the 2010 US Open champion, who got lost trying to find her son’s rented beach front dwelling. She told Ohlson she had arrived at Hilton Head late on Saturday night, and with it being very dark the only thing she knew was that her son’s address had the number 38 in it.

Hilton Head is a maze of similar looking streets and it’s not uncommon for even the pros to get lost in trying to find the tournament course.

“At 10pm, all the lights on Hilton Head are turned off during turtle nesting season, so this probably led to her initial confusion,” said Ohlson. “I had a map of the beach-front home so we drove along the beach, trying to find the right house with a 38 in the address.”

After finding the house and dropping her off, Ohlson then received a call from his manager to advise the woman was McDowell’s mother, and to make sure she had been reunited with the family as the house’s call-back number wasn’t working.

Ohlson rushed back to the house and knocked on the door to be greeted by McDowell’s fiancée, Kristin Stape and then McDowell.

“It took me a second to realise who McDowell was,” said Ohlson.

Both expressed thanks to Ohlson, given the stress McDowell’s mum endured and also that when he had first met her, she was some three miles from the rented house. McDowell then organised full clubhouse tickets for Ohlson along with his father, Ken and mother, Keri and they attended all four days of the event on the Harbor Town course.

Ohlson was at the back of the 18th green last Sunday to witness McDowell capture his first regular PGA Tour event in defeating fellow US Open winner, Webb Simpson. He was then invited to sit in on McDowell’s post round press conference and afterwards got a photograph with the new RBC Heritage Champion, along with McDowell signing his tournament pass with: “Scott. Thanks for rescuing my mum. All the best, Graeme McDowell.”

He gave McDowell his business card and the pair promised to catch-up next year when McDowell defends his title.

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