Irish Open: Give it a better slot

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Graeme McDowell is ready for a rough, tough week in The 3 Irish Open at County Louth and thinks the worse the weather, the better his chances might be.

Graeme McDowell is ready for a rough, tough week in The 3 Irish Open at County Louth and thinks the worse the weather, the better his chances might be.
But the 29-year-old from Portrush still wishes the championship could be given a better midsummer slot on the European Tour.
“Let’s get the sunshine going and let people see what we’ve got over here,” said McDowell, whose 17th place at The Masters last month made him top European in the first major of the season.
“This event is obviously pretty close to my heart and I believe it deserves an important spot and to be recognised as one of the top events in Europe.
“Ideally we would love to see it the week before or after the British Open – it would be great to go on a little ‘links swing’, if you like.
“But obviously that’s up to the politics of the Tour, but anything later in the year would do us nicely.
“Historically it’s been a great event and it needs to be reinstated to that kind of prestige on Tour.
“There’s no doubt about it that the Irish Open has had a bad reputation for the last four or five years.
“Nothing to do with the tournament itself or the golf course – just the weather has not been very kind to us.
“The guys kind of know what they are going to get when they come over here, I suppose. It’s going to be cold and windy and potentially rainy.”
There has already been a big boost for the tournament this year, though, with new sponsors 3 upping the prize fund by almost £500,000 to nearly £2.7million.
And a return to Baltray has pleased many players, McDowell included.
“It’s a different type of course and you certainly have to adjust your ball flight and your whole way of thinking.
“Your short game changes immensely so, obviously, with my links upbringing, I slip back into it pretty easily.
“Maybe the continental guys can’t handle that but John Daly’s here this week and obviously he’s a pretty decent links player with his British Open win.”
Daly, joint runner-up in last week’s Italian Open, was among today’s later starters along with current Open and US PGA champion Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Paul McGinley.
Colin Montgomerie, Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and McDowell were all off at breakfast time, however, and hoping that might prove to be the lucky half of the draw.

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