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'Huge privilege': Graeme McDowell thrilled to host next two Irish Opens

 

In charge: Graeme McDowell
In charge: Graeme McDowell
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Graeme McDowell has been announced as the host of both the 2020 and 2021 Dubai Duty Free Irish Opens.

The Portrush man will take on the mantle of hosting the event when it is held at Mount Juliet in Co Kilkenny from May 28-31 of next year, and also when it returns to Portstewart in 2021.

G-Mac follows in the footsteps of fellow countryman Rory McIlroy, who oversaw the tournament in association with his foundation from 2015 to 2018, and Paul McGinley as hosts of the European Tour event.

"It's a huge privilege to have the opportunity to host the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in both 2020 and 2021," said the Portrush native.

"The event has gone from strength to strength over the last few years with the support of Dubai Duty Free and the efforts of Rory and Paul as hosts, alongside everybody at the European Tour.

"I'm really looking forward to taking on that responsibility over the next two years and adding to the history of this great tournament."

It had been rumoured that McDowell would be the host for 2021 after it was revealed that Portstewart would be the venue, given his association with golf on the north coast having grown up as a member of Rathmore Golf Club beside Royal Portrush.

The Strand Course at Portstewart will host the tournament for the second time having also held the Rolex Series event in 2017, when Spain's Jon Rahm proved a popular winner.

However, despite the excitement of the Irish Open returning to the famous Northern Irish links, McDowell says he is not taking any focus away from next year's event at Mount Juliet - the fourth time it will have been played there having hosted the tournament for three consecutive years in 1993, '94 and '95 - which returns to an earlier slot in the season and will be played on a non-links course for the first time since it was played at The K Club in 2016.

"Our island is famous for its incredible golf courses and passionate golf fans, both north and south of the border," added the 40-year-old.

"But my focus now is on next year at Mount Juliet and making sure that is another world-class sporting occasion.

"It's an event which has become a global spectacle that Irish golf fans can be proud of."

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