World number one, Rory McIlroy says he is thrilled to return home to compete at Royal County Down for the Irish Open this week.
The Northern Irishman is eager to make amends for his rather poor showing at the BMW Championships, where a second round meltdown lead to him having the weekend off.
Unfortunately, McIlroy has not had the best results at the Irish Open in recent times, missing the cut in the 2013 and 2014 events. Nevertheless, the star-studded line-up has attracted sell-out crowds for the weekend, with over 80 000 fans expected.
“I’m so excited for this tournament,” revealed the 26-year-old on europeantour.com.
“Obviously the Irish Open is a tournament that’s close to my heart. Now that I’m involved with my foundation hosting the event, and with the title sponsors Dubai Duty Free and all the players coming to play Royal County Down, it’s going to be a great week and I just hope I can put on a good performance for all the fans back home. I haven’t been as excited for a golf tournament this year, apart from the Masters for obvious reasons.
“Royal County Down is probably rated as one of the top five golf courses in the world and with all the players – Rickie Fowler coming off the back of his win at the Players, Sergio Garcia who was in that play-off, Ernie Els, Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke, Shane Lowry, myself and so many other good players coming – it’ll be great.
“I haven’t really played well in the Irish Open and that’s something that hasn’t sat well with me for a few years. I think it’s to do with maybe trying to hard when you get back home and you maybe push yourself too much. I’m just going to try and enjoy myself this year and relish the opportunity to play at home. It would be great to win obviously and I’ll be trying my best out there.”