Rory McIlroy has set his sights on becoming the youngest Irish Open winner in history and taking a giant step towards a Dubai double.
Set to turn 20 on Monday, McIlroy said: “I am looking forward to playing it so much because I love links golf. The 3 Irish Open is one of the oldest tournaments on The European Tour and I would love to win at Baltray.
"Returning to links golf after a couple of months in America where I played courses like Augusta and Doral will be a test but it’s a test I’m relishing.”
McIlroy is in Las Vegas for the Hatton-Pacquiao fight and will tackle the The PLAYERS Championship next week before heading home for the Irish Open.
And a home win by the winner of the Dubai Desert Classic would massively boost his chances of winning the Race to Dubai.
Ranked fourth with just under €1 million in the bank, he can close the gap on leader Geoff Ogilvy by taking the €500,000 top prize.
"There’s no doubt it would be great to get back to Dubai and have a chance of winning The Race to Dubai and the Dubai World Championship – but first of all I have to concentrate on getting a good result at The 3 Irish Open because that would be a good catalyst for the rest of the year.
“It would be a nice to do a Dubai double, that’s for sure! But it’s a long way off and I’m concentrating on the rest of the season, starting at Baltray in a couple of weeks.”