After sitting it out last year, Rory McIlroy has today confirmed that he will be in the field for the Irish Open when it takes place at Mount Juliet this spring.
The world No.1 was condemned in certain quarters when he decided to skip his national open in 2019, preferring instead to play in the Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club in preparation for the Open at Royal Portrush.
However, with the event moving from July to a new date in May, McIlroy has today confirmed that he’ll join his fellow Northern Irishman, close friend and tournament host Graeme McDowell in a star-studded field, which also includes defending champion Jon Rahm and the reigning Open champion Shane Lowry.
“I’m looking forward to it a lot,” said the four-time major champion. “It’s a bit different going back for a May date as opposed to July, and at a parkland course at Mount Juliet.
“I’ve never played the course but got good memories – it was the first time I ever watched Tiger Woods play in person.
“My dad drove me down and we watched the WGC there and that was really cool, so it’ll be exciting to tee it up there myself and try to win a tournament there.”
McIlroy will be targeting a second victory in an event that he himself hosted from 2015 to 2018, bringing the event back from the brink and helping to establish it as one of the European Tour’s eight premier Rolex Series events.
The 30-year-old famously lifted the trophy in 2016, delighting the home crowds with a swashbuckling display down the stretch to hold off Scot Russell Knox – who went on to claim the title in 2017 – and Welshman Bradley Dredge.