Published: Thu, July 04, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

"I would love to win it!" - Graeme McDowell on the Irish Open

Rahm domination: In his last nine European Tour events (not including majors and WGCs), Jon Rahm has three wins and seven top-five finishes. "I'm now only 32, so hopefully I've got another 15 or 20 Irish Opens in me and hopefully I'll have a few chances to win again".

Padraig Harrington (-1), Paul Dunne (level) and Cormac Sharvin (-1) have just got their rounds underway. This is a huge boost. I'd be a basket case if I didn't play the week before.

Follow the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open with our live blog on RTÉ Sport Online and the RTÉ News Now App and watch live on RTÉ2 from 10.30am Thursday. Lowry famously won the Irish Open at Co Louth Golf Club as an amateur in 2009.

"Every time the minute I've been cleared to go back, I'd literally get back on the golf course and go, 'yeah, I'm ready to go'. To make sure we leverage the worldwide profile this event commands, we are hosting the US Golf Channel team in Lahinch and at other key golf locations and courses along the Wild Atlantic Way, particularly in the area north of Galway".

Defending champion Russell Knox, who won the tournament last year at Ballyliffin Golf Club, will be eyeing a similar result as the current year hasn't yielded many wins for the two time European Tour victor. I was very focused on my golf. Would love to try and compete and win this weekend. That includes an Irish Open victory two years ago that nobody really saw coming.

"Sometimes you show up at these events and you think just being there, that is the show, whereas focusing and competing, having a chance to win here would be very, very special".

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Padraig Harrington knows how much it means to the Irish fans to have a homegrown victor, after his victory at Adare Manor in 2007 - the first Irishman to win the Open in 25 years.

Harrington, the Europe Ryder Cup captain, believes a preparation event is of paramount importance and is surprised that Woods is not teeing it up at either the Irish Open, that starts at Lahinch on Thursday, or next week's Scottish Open.

"When you're putting well, chipping is easier; when you're putting well, iron play is easier". "It's a €7million dollar purse, it's the Rolex series, some of the top players in the world are here, it's a great occasions from a golf point of view but it goes way beyond that for the region and the county, you've seen the changes yourself, it will leave lasting memories when people across the world see the images that are going to be beamed from Lahinch over the next seven days".

"You know, certainly it's been talked about, discussed".

"As I always say, you can go to a lot of events around the world, and if you pulled out of the golf, went down the road a mile and pulled into a petrol station, they wouldn't know the event is on".

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