Wednesday 21 February 2018

G-Mac dreaming of Opens in North

US Open champion Graeme McDowell would love to see the '3' Irish Open and the British Open go North, and preferably being played in Portrush, his home town.

Is it impossible?

"When you look at the way Irish golf is right now, with the strength there is on both sides of the Border, there's no reason why the Irish Open couldn't go up North," said McDowell

"Would getting the Irish Open there be a stepping stone to getting the British Open? Perhaps.

"I've always dreamed of playing a professional event at Portrush or Royal County Down or somewhere like that. It would be great."

Today, G-Mac tees it up at Killarney, but last Thursday McDowell forged a historic link with the great Harry Vardon.

Vardon, winner of the US Open in 1900, played at Rosapenna, Donegal, on June 8, 1910. McDowell thus became the second US Open champion to play Rosapenna -- albeit a century later.

He played the Sandy Hills links and declared: "It beat me up a little bit and I lost a ball. It was tough, but very enjoyable and I finished a couple below par."

Kelly's Pro-Am is longest drive

JOHN Kelly, teaching pro at St Margaret's, gave the 'long drive' a new meaning on Sunday.

Kelly, one of eight Irish Region PGA professionals in the '3' Irish Open this week, played the second round of the IPGA Pro-Am at Ballyliffin early on Sunday morning before setting out from Donegal to drive to Kerry.

It took over eight hours to cover the 385 miles.

Kelly did the marathon to be ready for play in the Allianz Des Smyth International Pro-Am at the Lackabane course on Monday.

On Tuesday he had a practice round with Padraig Harrington and Peter O'Malley and today plays alongside amateur Pat Murray from Limerick and English pro Robert Coles.

Ambitious Kelly (38) will once again go to Tour School -- or as he calls it "my annual holiday" -- later in the year, but his first aim is to make the cut in Killarney this week.

Punters' chance to get Tour flavour

World Clubmaker of the Year Derek Murray and Iain Clarke, the European Tour Manager for Cleveland-Srixon, are teaming up at the Fore Golf premises near Newbridge today (3.0) to give the ordinary punter a flavour of the Tour experience.

Clarke and his team have spent the last three days at Killarney setting up the clubs, particularly wedges, for top players including Shane Lowry, David Howell and Damien McGrane.

Here's a tip for the technically minded -- ask Clarke to discuss the 'coefficient of friction' in relation to the 588 RTG (Raw Tour Ground) wedges.

Unfortunately, my own 'coefficient of friction' usually consists of bashing the wedge off the ground after I've duffed yet another pitch!

Irish Independent

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