New world number one golfer Rory McIlroy has set his sights on winning the Irish Open in June when his national open returns to Royal Portrush for the first time since 1947.
The 22-year-old, who ended Luke Donald’s nine-month reign as world number one after winning the Honda Classic last week, will be spurred on by his home fans in County Antrim.
“For the Irish Open to come to Portrush is a huge thing for any golfer from Northern Ireland, said the Ulsterman. “So for myself and the likes of Graeme [McDowell], Darren [Clarke] and Michael Hoey to play the Irish Open in Northern Ireland is a dream come true for us.”
However, the Holywood man will be a playing a course less familiar to him than his junior days. “I haven’t played competitively at Royal Portrush since 2005, so to go back there and have the chance to win my national open is something that is very, very important to me.”
The 2012 Irish Open gets underway on 28 June, 2012, just a few weeks before the Open Championship and it’s likely to attract a star-studded field along with McIlroy.