World number four confirms his place at the Irish Open
Hideki Matsuyama joins strong field set to tee it up at Portstewart GC next month
World number four Hideki Matsuyama will make his debut at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open next month.
Matsuyama is the highest-ranked player to be announced so far – outside of Rory McIlroy, who is hosting the event through his Foundation.
The Japanese player will join Jon Rahm, Justin Rose, Danny Willett, Lee Westwood, Pádraig Harrington, Shane Lowry, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke for the event at Portstewart Golf Club.
Matsuyama will also be making his European Tour debut when vying for a slice of the record €6.4 million prize fund.
The 25 year-old has 13 professional wins to his name, the most recent coming at this year's Waste Management Phoenix Open on the PGA Tour. Matsuyama birdied the fourth play-off hole to defeat Webb Simpson and retain the title he won in 2016.
Matsuyama’s eye-catching record at the Major Championships has been another factor in his rise to such heady heights in the Official World Golf Ranking - with American Dustin Johnson, Dubai Duty Free Irish Open tournament host Rory McIlroy and Australian Jason Day the only players above him.
In his last seven appearances in golf’s big four, he has claimed three top tens and two more top 20 finishes, while he also finished in the top ten at both The Open Championship and US Open Championship back in his first year as a professional back in 2013.
Matsuyama, the third player in the current top ten in the world to be announced for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open thus far – following McIlroy and Rahm – said: “I am really looking forward to playing the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open for the first time. I have heard great things about the tournament and about the Northern Irish fans.
“It is important to play some links golf ahead of The Open Championship and I’m sure Portstewart will be the perfect preparation for me.
“I know Rory puts a lot into this tournament and he has done an incredible job raising its profile. I’m really excited and I know it will be a great week.”
Matsuyama’s compatriot Hideto Tanihara has also confirmed his participation at Portstewart, with the World Number 47 making his debut at the event having finished in a share of third at the very first Rolex Series event – the BMW PGA Championship – two weeks ago.
Tickets to see Matsuyama, Tanihara and the numerous other superstars at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation are on sale at www.dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com.
Belfast Telegraph Digital