Graeme McDowell admits winning the Irish Open at Royal Portrush later this year would mean as much to him as his 2010 US Open triumph.
The 32-year-old, born and bred in the County Antrim town, is relishing an ‘extra special’ week as the Irish Open is staged in Northern Ireland for the first time since 1953 in June.
“To win the Irish Open at Royal Portrush would be right up there with a major championship,” said the seven-time European Tour champion, who will entertain his home fans on the course ranked regularly in the world’s top-50.
“The Irish Open has always been one that I’ve targeted every year. It would definitely be one of the proudest moments of my career.
“Having lived and grown up in Portrush all my life, it’s definitely a dream come true and I’m going to be very proud to welcome the European Tour and a tournament of this magnitude to my neck of the woods.
With World No.2 Rory McIlroy and reigning Open champion Darren Clarke also in the line-up, there will be no better time to celebrate the success of Northern Irish golf.
“The people in Ireland, in general, are so excited about Irish golf,” added the World No.17.
“Everyone has got behind Northern Irish golf and we’re very proud to have the Irish Open up north of the border for the first time since the 1950s.
“The fans in the north are very excited to have a European Tour event that side of the border and they are very proud of what Darren and Rory and I have achieved in the last few years in winning Majors.
“The response I’ve had via family, friends and Twitter is that people are going to come in their thousands to support a great venue and a great golf tournament.”