It’s sometimes easy to forget that the defending champion only turned professional two years ago. In that time, he has won twice on the PGA Tour, three times on the European Tour and reached as high as No.2 on the Official World Golf Rankings. Make no mistake: he is the real deal. Albeit the Irish Open is taking place at a different course this year, the Spaniard will be confident of mounting a successful defence of his title. He’s currently second in SG: Off The Tee on the PGA Tour this season and is a legitimate birdie machine. If he can keep his famously volatile temper in check, he could become the first player to retain the tile since Colin Montgomerie 21 years ago.