Wednesday 23 October 2019

Rory McIroy eyes Irish Open victory in summer

Rory McIlroy in action at the Irish Open in Portrush last year
Rory McIlroy reacts to missing a shot at last year's Irish Open. Photo: Sportsfile

The Double major champion tells Golf Ireland iMagazine that an Irish victory would be ‘very special’.

The current world number two will join a stellar line-up including fellow Major winners Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke at the Kildare venue – and the 23-year-old is determined to add the trophy to his collection.

“I think winning the Irish Open would be very special,” he said in a video included in a Golf Ireland iMag magazine, now available online. A print version of the magazine is free with today’s paper.

“I know Padraig Harrington has talked a lot about when he won, how he felt and how proud he was of it and I’d love to.

“It’s tough to play in front of your own crowd at times, it brings its own pressures – you want to do so well. They live and breathe every shot with you. When you make a bogey there’s a big ‘ahhh’, and when you make a birdie it’s… you know.

“It’s tough sometimes not to try too hard but I’m hopefully going to win not just one Irish Open but a few Irish Opens in my career.” 

The star, who recently lost his number one ranking to a resurgent Tiger Woods, will be targeting the remaining three Majors this year as he attempts to regain top spot and cement his place as the best young golfer on the planet.

But he is adamant that he will also have a distinct focus on the Kildare event from 27-30 June.

“I guess the Irish Open for me is very special because it’s my home event. I think the history that the Irish Open has as well – such a great list of champions from Nick Faldo to Seve [Ballesteros], Bernhard Langer, Sergio Garcia… Padraig Harrington,” McIlroy said

“So you have so many European greats that have won that tournament, that’s what makes it so great – the history.”

Meanwhile, Clarke, who will be making his 22nd appearance in the event, is also hoping to record his first victory.

He was third behind winner Thomas Björn the last time the Irish Open was played at Carton House in 2006.

“The atmosphere at Royal Portrush last year was unbelievable and I think we can expect some more fantastic home support at Carton House. I played well the last time we were there in 2006 so I’d like to think I can do well again this year.”

In the special supplement focused on the Irish Open, readers will find all of the key information for this year’s event, in addition to special offers from some of Ireland’s best golf courses.

Click here for the exclusive Golf Ireland Irish Open iMagazine

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