Several of Northern Ireland’s best-loved and most successful golfers recently took some time out of their hectic training schedules to give their thoughts on the Irish Open returning to Royal Portrush for the first time in more than 50 years. Graeme Mc Dowell and current World No. 1 – Rory Mc Ilroy discussed the great sense of civic pride in Northern Ireland at the moment especially surrounding the achievements of the sporting stars.

Graeme Mc Dowell explains that it is truly a “dream come true to play a tournament of the magnitude of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush.” Being able to play in front of millions across the world at his home golf-course fills Mc Dowell with a sense of pride and he adds that the feedback from fans in Northern Ireland has been amazing. Graeme continues to explain that people across Northern Ireland are very proud of what he, Rory Mc Ilroy, Darren Clarke, Michael Hoey and others have achieved in recent years. Mr Mc Dowell attributes the success in bringing the competition to Royal Portrush to the strength and accessibility of the sport currently in Northern Ireland highlighting that there are great coaching programmes and facilities.

World No. 1 – Rory Mc Ilroy is looking forward to returning to Royal Portrush which he describes as a very tough but fair course. Mc Ilroy last played competitively at the County Antrim site in 2005 and celebrates the fantastic achievement of both governments in bringing the competition to Northern Ireland. As claimed by Mc Dowell, Rory discusses the incredible support and response from local fans highlighted by the early levels of ticket sales shortly after the announcement was made in January.

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Watch Graeme Mc Dowell and Rory Mc Ilroy discuss one of our biggest events for 2012 now.

Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowellGoogle Images