Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell have confirmed that they will both compete in the Irish Open, completing Ireland’s line-up of Major Champions at Carton House, in Co. Kildare, from June 27-30.
The pair will join Padraig Harrington and World Number One Rory McIlroy in the field, along with Carton House Touring Professional Shane Lowry, as they attempt to become the first home winner of the event since Lowry’s sensational victory as an amateur at County Louth Golf Club in 2009.
Clarke, the 2011 Open Champion, was third behind winner Thomas Björn the last time the Irish Open was played at Carton House in 2006.
He was also joint runner-up to Colin Montgomerie at Fota Island in 2001, and the 44 year old is hoping to go one better when he makes his 22nd appearance in the Irish Open.
“The Irish Open is obviously one of the highlights of the year for us, and it is always an event I always look forward to playing in,” said Clarke.
“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.”
McDowell, who reached the quarter-finals of last week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play in Arizona, is also looking forward to putting on a good show for the Irish golf fans. The 2010 US Open Champion finished tied 16th last year at his home course of Royal Portrush and has yet to finish in the top ten in the Irish Open, with his best performance to date a share of 11th position at Co. Louth in 2004.
“Carton House should be another great venue for the Irish Open,” said McDowell.
“Obviously Portrush was a huge success last year and was very special for me personally, but I think the Irish golf fans will again support the event and it will be another celebration of Irish golf.
“We’ve had some great success on the international stage and so it would be nice for one of us to do it at home, in front of our own fans.
“Personally, I’d love to win the Irish Open one day and hopefully this can be the year I do it.”
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