Saturday 17 March 2018

Top dogs McIlroy and Willett kept apart in Irish Open draw

Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

European Tour officials appear to have missed a chance to start the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open with a bang by separating marquee players Rory McIlroy and Danny Willett in the first round at The K Club tomorrow.

Masters champion Willett expected to be drawn with an Irish player; McIlroy (above) would have been ideal, and fans would have loved it.

Instead, Willett starts off the first tee tomorrow at 1.35 alongside his IMG stablemate Lee Westwood and Spain's Rafa Cabrero-Bello. McIlroy's playing partners are England's Andy Sullivan and the 2015 Irish Open winner Soren Kjeldsen at 1.25, also off the first tee.

Paul McGinley (7.55), Padraig Harrington (8.05) and Shane Lowry (8.35) are early starters on the 10th tee.

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