Masters champion Bubba Watson doesn’t rule out making a surprise appearance at this year’s Irish Open.
The flamboyant left-hander, 33, played Ireland’s great links courses for the first time when he was a student.
And after making the cut in The Open for the first time last year, a warm up at Royal Portrush could be just the ticket as he prepares for the oldest major at Royal Lytham three weeks later.
Asked about the possibility of an Irish Open tilt from June 28-July 1, a green-jacketed Watson said: “Maybe!”
He admits he learned a lot playing alongside Portrush native Graeme McDowell in The Open at Sandwich last year.
The man from Baghdad in Florida made the cut in the game’s oldest major for the first time in three appearances and finished 30th behind Darren Clarke.
He’s no stranger to Irish links courses or Royal Portrush having played it on a trip with his high school buddies in 1997.
Speaking at last year’s Open Championship, Bubba said: “Graeme grew up around links and it’s something I need to learn.
“I played links golf for the first time when I went to Ireland with my High School buddies when I was 18 and played six courses in about 13 days.
“I’ve played Ballybunion, down south Waterville, Lahinch twice, the par three where you hit over the rock. Royal County Down, Portrush, Portmarnock.
“We landed in Dublin and went around the coast. We got a hotel, played golf, got a hotel room, played more golf.
“Lahinch was the first links I ever played. We arrived at three in the afternoon, I remember I hit the green on the first and the fairway.
“Then on the second I missed it behind the bunker and I said to the caddie I was going to flop it.
“And the caddie said, you can’t do that. But I played it anyway and it went straight off the green. We played Lahinch twice and played it the next morning and then went to the next course.”
Watson made friends in Ireland but enemies in France last year when he called the Eiffel Tower as “that big tower” and dubbed the Arc de Triomphe “this arch I drove round in a circle.”
He became a laughing stock when he described the Louvre as “a building starting with L”, then rapped French Open organisers for mobile phone chaos and lack of security.