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Irish Open Gets McDowell's Backing

Top names not put off by cut in prize money

Posted Jul 08, 2011 by Chris White

Prize money has been almost halved but the top Irish players are still keen to compete

The top Irish players will be competing at this year’s Irish Open despite the prize fund being cut by as much as 50% compared to last year’s competition. That is the opinion of current world number 9 Graeme McDowell.

McDowell described the prize money on offer as “irrelevant” and promises that the likes of himself, Padraig Harrington and US Open winner Rory McIlroy will be there to give the tournament their full backing, and will be aiming to win it.

As the golfing tournaments enter a phase of links golf, McDowell will warm up for next week’s Open by playing at his home course of Portrush, followed by a round at Royal County Down before travelling down to Kent for the big one.

It is good to hear that players aren’t necessarily influenced by the amount of prize money on offer at tournaments, and that they will be taking part in events that actually mean something to them. Sportsmen and women today are regularly, and rightfully at times, criticised for only taking part for the money available at the end of competitions, but not many come out and say that they’ll be taking part because of it being their home tournament or on a course they love in a golfing case.

For the Irish public, and organisers of the Irish Open, it will be great to see McDowell, Harrington and McIlroy striding onto the first tee at the Killarney Golf and Fishing Club. It’s all well and good having some of the top international players taking part, but there is nothing like an Irishman taking part in the Irish Open, just like it wouldn’t be the same without Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson at the US Open or Luke Donald and Lee Westwood missing the Open.

In addition to the spectacle of watching the Irish Open, and with Irish players taking part, Rory McIlroy has given fans the opportunity to win a competition to play alongside him at the Pro-AM on the Wednesday before the tournament kicks off – another great touch from a young Irishman.

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