Dunne's trip around the world in 80 days for $80m
Paul Dunne waves to the gallery after making a birdie on the ninth hole during the first round of the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills. © USGA/Jeff Haynes

Paul Dunne waves to the gallery after making a birdie on the ninth hole during the first round of the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills. © USGA/Jeff Haynes

Paul Dunne embarks on an 80-day around the world odyssey this week looking for his share of a $77.7 million jackpot and the chance to claim major glory and a Ryder Cup debut.

The Greystones star (25) tees it up for $7 million Rolex Series prize funds in BMW PGA at Wentworth and Italian Open over the next fortnight knowing that just one good week could be enough to catapult him into the world's top 60, securing his place in next month's US Open at Shinnecock Hills.

The season's second major is the only event that's not set in stone for the world number 73 over next two and a half months.

But after an excellent start to the season, he's confident that his game is in good enough shape to have a fighting chance make the world's top 60 by the June 11 deadline and avoid Sectional Qualifying for the US Open at Walton Heath on June 4.

"Every event I am playing the next while is big," Dunne said before jetting out to London yesterday to join Rory McIlroy, Pádraig Harrington, Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry at Wentworth. 

"The smallest event I am playing the next three months is a Rolex event in terms of purse, so if I am in the US Open, I go Wentworth, Italian Open, US Open, France, Ireland, Scotland, The Open, Bridgestone and the (US) PGA.

"I have got a great run of Rolex events, WGCs and Majors, so I am just concentrating on trying to keep my game in a good place, trying do as well as I can every week and seeing if I can give myself a chance to win."

With Ryder Cup points multiplying by 1.5 from this week, Dunne knows that victory at Wentworth on Sunday or in next week's Italian Open, would put him halfway towards making his debut under Thomas Bjorn in Paris where Harrington will be an assistant captain.

"Everything is good," said Dunne, who has recorded four top-10 finishes in his last five starts, including a share of second behind Jon Rahm in the Open de España.  

"I’ve had a good eight-week run and my game is in good shape. I am hitting the ball really nicely and my short game seems to be there, so things are good. They are two big weeks and I am looking to it."

Dunne tied for 30th on his Wentworth debut last year and after returning recently for a practice round, he returned toLondon yesterday with high hopes.

"It's obviously a great course," he said. "I like the big, tall treelined parklands anyway. It should suit me and the greens will be really firm with that SubAir system, so they can put the pins wherever they want and make it as hard as they want. Hopefully it is a good week."

Everything he does, he puts his heart and soul into it... I would say he would be a great person for the job.
— Paul Dunne on Pádraig Harrington's Ryder Cup captaincy credentials

While he practised recently at Dubai Duty Free Irish Open venue Ballyliffin and had a game at The European Club last week, he's not yet thinking of Europe's links swing, his world ranking or the Ryder Cup but taking things one event at a time.

But with Harrington tipped to be named as one of Bjorn's assistants for Paris at Wentworth this week, Dunne admitted that he'd love to play under the Dubliner, who is openly seeking the 2020 Ryder Cup captaincy.

Captain Harrington? "He is not fully orthodox"

"I will have to start buying him dinners," Dunne joked. "I think he is the greatest sportsman Ireland has ever had... there is always something you can learn from him. 

"He is not fully orthodox, he does things his way, but what's great about him is he is never afraid to try something to see if it works. He doesn’t get embarrassed by anything."

He added: "I think he will be a very worthy Ryder Cup captain and I would love to see him do it. I would say he would be a great person for the job.

"I would love to play under anyone. But obviously it would be great if I could play under Pádraig. Who knows when he gets it or what venue, but hopefully it's soon.

"Everything he does, he puts his heart and soul into it, and lives and breathes it. He would give everything he can to the role if he gets it."