Rory McIlroy factor attracts top stars to Irish Open

Martin Kayner is coming to Irish Open
Martin Kayner is coming to Irish Open

Rory McIlroy’s powers of persuasion has resulted in US Open champion Martin Kaymer, former world number one Luke Donald and American Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed confirming their participation in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

McIlroy’s foundation is hosting the event at Royal County Down from May 28-31 and the world number one has been a major influence in attracting a top-class field, who will compete for a prize fund of 2.5 million euro (£1.8million), an increase of 25 per cent from last year.

Reed let the cat out of the bag on the final day of the Masters at Augusta National, also revealing he would compete in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth the week before.

But the addition of Kaymer and Donald means the tournament will feature five players who have been world number one - McIlroy, Donald, Kaymer, Ernie Els and Lee Westwood - and eight major champions in McIlroy, Els, Kaymer, Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell, Paul Lawrie and Jose Maria Olazabal.

Donald, who last played in the Irish Open in 2004, said: “My performances and results have been getting better and better recently and I am feeling very positive about a huge summer of golf ahead.

“The Irish Open will be a big part of that and I am looking forward to playing Royal County Down and some really ‘old school’ links golf - I think the links golf factor will add a lot to the event and it’s looking like it’s going to be a great week.”

Kaymer added: “There is definitely a good feeling about this year’s Irish Open and I think Rory has done a great job to get such a great field for the event and to create a really nice atmosphere about the tournament.”

Reed, currently ranked 14th in the Official World Golf Ranking is one of golf’s rising stars having recently become only the fourth player in the past 20 years (after Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy) to win four US PGA Tour titles before the age of 25 while in capturing the WGC-Cadillac Championship in 2014 he became, at 23, the youngest champion in one of those elite events.

McIlroy was quick to express his delight at another three global stars signing up for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation.

“It’s great to see Martin, Luke and Patrick adding their names to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open,” he said.

“To have another three truly world class players at the tournament can only give the Irish Open fans a better experience at Royal County Down so I’d really like to thank the guys for supporting the event.”

For more information on the 2015 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation or to purchase tickets, visit www.irishopen.ie.