G-Mac hails Major feel

European Tour

Graeme McDowell admits that Royal Portrush is abuzz ahead of the Irish Open and that he’s loving every minute.

Graeme McDowell admits that Royal Portrush is abuzz ahead of the Irish Open and that he’s loving every minute.

For the first time the European Tour have declared a sell out ahead of this week’s tournament in Northern Ireland which is headlined by local legends McDowell, Open champion Darren Clarke and world number two Rory McIlroy.

With an ace field and 100 000 fans expected, McDowell reveals that the tournament feels almost like a Major.
“When these crowds come in over the next few days it’s going to feel like a major championship,” McDowell told the BBC.
“The golf course will certainly be major championship standard and there’s no doubt there will be a little bit of added expectation from the fans looking to see the Irish boys play well.
“Royal Portrush is a golf club with a huge amount of history, given the British Open was staged here in 1951. But in the modern era this is one of the proudest moments for this golf club, for the area and for Northern Ireland.
“It’s a huge thrill to see such a great field assembled and everyone is buzzing and excited.”
The triumphs of McDowell, Clarke and McIlroy in recent years is part of the reason that Royal Portrush is playing host to the tournament for the first time since 1947 and the US Open winner admits that fact brings him great joy.
“To be one of the three or four guys who helped make this happen through our major successes also gives me a huge sense of pride – it’s great to have played a part and it’s kind of a dream come true,” said the 32-year-old.
The week will be a big one for McIlroy, not only because he is looking to arrest a poor run in form, but also because it will be the first time he will be playing in front of his home crowd as a professional.

Latest