McDowell to sink a few of the other kind at new tavern

He has a stunning new fiancée, a newly built lakeside mansion in Orlando, another million in the bank and 10 weeks off the golf course to look forward to.

What else could major winner Graeme McDowell want? His own pub outside the front door it seems.

Portrush star McDowell rounded off his season in style Sunday night with victory in Tiger Woods’s invitational event in California and admitted he wasn’t even sure where to open a bar tab for his fans. After clinching his first tour win in two years at Sherwood Country Club on America’s West Coast, McDowell realised there was still time to open a tab back at his home golf club in Rathmore GC in Portrush. But now he’s poised to open his own tavern, Nona Blue just outside the Lake Nona Golf resort in Florida.

“Traditionally when I win an event I call my home golf club. Lake Nona has kind of become my second home golf club, and I typically have a free bar for the members for a defined period of time,” he explained.

“(But) I always call Rathmore, my home golf course. It’s a bit late there now. What is it, 11:35? in Ireland,” he said, calculating the difference from the west coast of the United States.

“It’s not too early for those boys, believe me. Hopefully my dad will make a phone call and we’ll shed the boys a few drinks and shed the boys a few drinks at Lake Nona. But I think traditionally it may be drinks on the house at Nona Blue when I win a tournament.

“So thankfully it’s not open yet. So I’ll save a few dollars this time around. I’ll be working on it during the next 10 weeks. We’re hoping for a mid-to-late-January opening. So I’ll be putting my dad on hold for the opening. But I’m looking forward to it.”

McDowell, who will now stash the golf clubs in the garage until the new year, added: “Nona Blue is a tavern restaurant. It’s just outside the gates of Lake Nona. Free drinks are with PGA Tour media credentials only,” he joked to reporters.

With his bride-to-be Kristin Stape looking on, McDowell added: “Getting engaged three or four weeks ago was a huge step in my life, and this has really kind of made it a lot of fun.

“I certainly enter a new chapter in my life which I feel is going to bring a lot of solidity and support to my golf career and this is a great way to begin it. She’s in support of what I do and loves to try and get out when she can. She flew in Friday night, and thankfully it was worth the trip.”


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