Tuesday, June 22, 2010

McDowell toasts American success in Ireland

3, Ireland’s largest high speed network, and The European Tour have today announced that Graeme McDowell will play at this year’s 3 Irish Open, when the tournament returns to Killarney Golf and Fishing Club from 29th July to 1st August.Graeme McDowell will bring his Major presence to the 3 Irish Open at the Killarney Golf and Fishing Club from July 29 – August 1, determined to continue his dream summer by adding his national Open to his magnificent US Open Championship triumph.The Ulsterman became the first Irishman in history to lift the US Open with his victory at Pebble Beach on Sunday, as the 30 year old stormed from 37th to 13th in the Official World Golf Ranking and straight to the top of The Race to Dubai. McDowell’s first Major win has also cemented his place in Europe’s Ryder Cup Team to face the United States in Wales this October, but before that he wants to add the 3 Irish Open trophy to his burgeoning trophy cabinet at home in Portrush.“To be able to tee up at the 3 Irish Open as the US Open Champion is going to be pretty special,” said McDowell after his one-stroke victory over Frenchman Grégory Havret at Pebble Beach.“I look forward to the 3 Irish Open every year, but to able to compete in front of the Irish fans as a Major winner will be an awesome feeling. It’s shaping up to be a great event down in Killarney – I know that 3, The Tour and Failte Ireland are working hard on putting together a great event over the bank holiday weekend.“We are looking at having a great field this year in a fantastic location and you can start to feel a lot of optimism around the 3 Irish Open.” There has been a unique synergy between the 3 Irish Open and Major Championships since Fred Daly, like McDowell born in Portrush, won the title at Portmarnock in 1946 then moved on the next year to capture the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool. American Hubert Green won the 1977 US Open then two months later the 3 Irish Open and that was followed by Seve Ballesteros (Masters Tournament – 1983, Sir Nick Faldo (The Open Championship – 1992) and Padraig Harrington (The Open Championship -2007) each winning a Major and the Irish title in the same year. Robert Finnegan, CEO of 3, said; “We are delighted to be able to announce that US Open winner Graeme McDowell will play at this year’s 3 Irish Open. Graeme has been an outstanding talent in golf for a long time now and it’s great to see him become the first European to win the US Open title for 40 years. To have world class players like Graeme standing on the tee in Killarney amongst many of the other top international golfers will make the 3 Irish Open one of the best sporting events in Ireland this year. We look forward to seeing everyone at the Killarney Golf and Fishing Club over the August Bank holiday weekend.” Mary Hanafin T.D., Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, said: “Graeme put in a stunning performance at the US Open. Being the first European in 40 years and the first Irishman ever to win this prestigious major title is a marvellous achievement for Graeme and is a testament to his dedication, commitment and the long hours of practice put in by professional golfers. Graeme’s victory has lifted the spirits of Irish people, and we look forward to welcoming him to Killarney to watch as he competes with some of the world’s best golfers at the 3 Irish Open.” Maurice O’Meara, General Manager of the Killarney Golf and Fishing Club, said: “Killarney Golf & Fishing Club would like to sincerely congratulate Graeme on his extraordinary win at Pebble Beach over the weekend. It is a true sign of the strength of The European Tour at the moment. We look forward to welcoming Graeme to Killarney as US Open champion. The late Payne Stewart was welcomed here for the Irish Open in 1991 as US Open Champion and we are sure that Graeme will receive a wonderful welcome here on his arrival as a Major Champion. His participation in the 3 Irish Open will attract massive following and will only add to what we hope will be a wonderful festival of golf.” George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “Graeme’s outstanding US Open triumph is another illustration of the strength in depth of the European Tour. Graeme has continued a remarkable run for European Tour Members with 14 major championship wins since the turn of the century, including three by Padraig Harrington, and we look forward to seeing him welcomed home as a Major winner at the 3 Irish Open.” McDowell will join world number three Lee Westwood and world number ten Rory McIlroy as one of the star attractions at the 3 Irish Open

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