Graeme McDowell has set his sights on winning the 3 Irish Open during Ireland's golden golfing era.
As he prepared to challenge the likes of three-time major winner Padraig Harrington and potential world-beater Rory McIlroy for a €3 million prize fund at Baltray, McDowell knows that victory would put him in an elite club.
He said: “It would be a dream to win in front of the home crowd. Following John O’Leary’s victory in 1982, Padraig followed suit for the Irish boys a couple of years ago so hopefully I can back him up this year with a win at Baltray which is a golf course I like.
“I finished 11th when they played the tournament there in 2004 and I finished ninth in the East of Ireland Amateur Championship a few years before that. It’s a golf course I really like and I am looking forward to getting back there."
“We are playing for an awful lot of money as well – €3 million – and that is an important factor because we have to try and attract the best possible field to our National Open and get The 3 Irish Open up there as one of the strongest events on The European Tour International Schedule because that is where it deserves to be.
“It’s quite amazing that many of the best players in the field, no matter who enters the tournament, will be Irish. You look at the Irish players, especially Padraig with his unbelievable success over the past few years and now with the emergence of Rory, and see that we are competing and succeeding on the world stage.
“It’s so important for the tournament that we have such success in Irish golf at the moment and I really hope that the Irish fans get out there and support the boys because the Irish people have always loved their golf and we need to get this tournament back to where it belongs.”
Season tickets etc: www.ticketmaster.ie and www.europeantourtickets.com or call the following numbers: Republic of Ireland Customers call: 1 890 252 698 Customers outside of the Republic of Ireland call: +44 (0) 800 023 2557
The 3 Irish Open Ticket Prices are as follows:
Adult Daily Gate €20 Adult Advance €15
Adult Season Gate €50 Adult Season Advance €35
Senior Daily Gate €15 Senior Daily Advance €10
Senior Season Gate €35 Senior Season Advance €25
Juniors U-16 Free if accompanied by a paying adult.