Part of the Ryder Cup team at Valhalla in 2008, but lost his European Tour card four years later and was ranked 792nd in the world when, following seven runner-up finishes, his long wait for a title ended at the 2014 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews, where he won by one from Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood and Richie Ramsay.
More tough times followed, but made it into The Open field for Carnoustie last July by finishing second at a 36-hole Final Qualifying event. Even fell out of the game’s top 2,000 after that, but then came two wins on the European Challenge Tour and in his second event back on the main circuit he tied for third at December’s South African Open, where three Royal Portrush places were on offer as part of The Open Qualifying Series. By then his ranking had improved to 273rd and he took the final spot because Thomas Aiken stood 294th at the time.
From four down partnered Henrik Stenson to a famous win over Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim in a Ryder Cup where he created history as the first European player to qualify without first winning a tournament.