Shane Lowry moves into a share of 32nd position at the end of the first round at the Texas Open. Photograph: Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP

Lowry fought back from three successive bogeys with birdies on the 14th and 17th

Rory McIlroy watches his tee shot on the third hole during the opening round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational  at  Bay Hill. Photograph: Michael Cohen/Getty Images.

Rory McIlroy struggles on greens but still well in the hunt after two-under-par 70

World number one McIlroy recognised the new title sponsors as “a strong global brand with great experience in sports sponsorship through golf, tennis and horse racing.” Photograph: David Cannon/Getty Images

Sponsorship provides massive shot in the arm after Three finished sponsorship in 2010

Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, and George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, put pen to paper on the contract which sees Dubai Duty Free become the title sponsor of the 2015 Irish Open hosted by The Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club. Photograph: Darren Kidd/Inpho

Tournament has been without a title sponsor since 2010

Dustin Johnson of the United States watches his tee shot on the twelfth hole during the third round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship - he could be the latest to add his name to the Irish Open entry list. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

World number one has no plans to add to his sparse schedule ahead of the Masters

Dustin Johnson drives from the 12th tee on his way to winning the  WGC-Cadillac Championship at the Blue Monster course  in Doral, Florida. Photograph: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images.

WGC victory particularly sweet following his six-month absence from the sport

 Graeme McDowell: “It’s early in the season, only tournament number four for me. It is not the start I wanted, but you have to just keep chipping away.” Photo:  Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Irishman finishes ten over par but says it’s very early in the season and no time to panic

 Shane Lowry: “It would have been nice to be on level. Still, I am up towards the top of the leaderboard, if you take JB Holmes out of it.” Photo:  David Cannon/Getty

Irishman posts a second round 74 to lie one-over as Blue Monster shows its teeth

Rory McIlroy during the second round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship on the Blue Monster in Doral, Florida. Photograph:  Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

World number one throws three iron into lake in sign of frustration with his game

Rory McIlroy continued to struggle on day two at Doral.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

World number one opens up with two birdies and two bogeys as he pursues leader JB Holmes

Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland hits his second shot on the 10h hole during the first round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral Blue Monster Course on Thursday. Photograph: David Cannon/Getty Images.

Portrush player happy enough with lot after ending opening round one over par

Three-time Major winner now has Ryder Cup and Olympics in his sights

 Adam Scott practising for the Cadillac Championship at Doral: “I’ve putted lots of different ways, it’s been feeling good. It’s not that big a deal . .  Photo:  David Cannon/Getty Images

New dad is eager to return to action at Doral following a winter lay-off

Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry: ‘I played with him in Pebble Beach  and he wasn’t playing that great,” said Lowry. Photograph: Scott Halleran/Getty Images

‘It’s one of the best stories in quite a while,’ says Lowry of his compatriot

 ‘Bad boy’ Bubba Watson. Photograph:  Scott Halleran/Getty Images

From bad boy to role model, the US Masters holder has come a long way

Kevin Phelan of Ireland tees off on the second during the final round of the Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

England’s Andy Sullivan takes second European Tour title of the season

Lydia Ko won the women’s Australian Open, but what’s in her bag? (Photograph: ESTHER LIM/AFP/Getty Images)

Love gets another crack at Ryder Cup, Rory’s back, quote of the week and what’s in Lydia Ko’s bag?

Darren Clarke shows his emotion after his memorable singles win over Zach Johnson during the 2006 Ryder Cup at The K Club. It came just weeks after the death of his wife Heather. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty

Experienced Irishman delighted to be chosen to lead the holders to Hazeltine

Importance of team’s belief in the captain was shown in last Ryder Cup

Darren Clarke celebrates Europe’s Ryder Cup win over the USA at The K Club in Kildare in 2006. Photograph:    Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Dungannon man has known triumph and personal disaster in stellar career

Shan Lowry missed out on a top 10 finish in the AT&T Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Lowry finishes tied for 21st spot in AT&T Pro-Am after disappointing final round

Shane Lowry: posted an impressive seventh-place finish in his first appearance of the new season at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California. Photo: Todd Warshaw/Getty

Cheque for almost $190,000 he won a big help in his bid to claim a PGA Tour card

“ Playing golf is what Rory McIlroy does better than anyone else in the world and, in case it has been forgotten, a trip to the US Masters in April could see him touch greatness as he seeks to become just the sixth man in the modern era of professional golf to claim a career grand slam.”  Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

World number one can now return to writing his name in golfing history books

The Swilcan Bridge on the the Old Course at St Andrews. Photograph: David Cannon/Getty

Five-year deal from 2017 ends the 60-year association with BBC’s free-to-air service

Phoenix Open winner Brooks Koepka has been “picking the brain” of “unbelievable” McIlroy. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Shane Lowry to make season debut at Torrey Pines where Harrington also lines up

Rory McIlroy’s High Court case against his former agents, Horizon Sports Management, is due to begin on Tuesday in Dublin. Photograph: Reuters

World number one’s High Court case against former agents set to begin on Tuesday

Most TV viewers could watch Rory McIlroy winning the British Open at Hoylake last year, but from 2016, only Sky subscribers will have access to full live coverage. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

Only hardcore fans who can afford to subscribe to pay-to-view will now have full access to the Open on television

Rory McIlroy and Horizon MD Conor Ridge pictured together at the White House in March  2012. Photograph: Benjamin Myers/Reuters

Golfer could spend two weeks on stand when proceedings against former agency begins

Rory McIlroy is confident going into the Dubai Desert Classic, in which he has finished in the top 10 every year since winning it in 2009. Photograph: Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters

Defending champion Stephen Gallacher going for an unprecedented treble

Rory McIlroy: “It’s just to try and stay as fresh as possible and give myself the best possible chance each and every week that I tee up, the best possible chance to play well.” Photo: Brendon thorne/Getty

Irishman starts season in Abu Dhabi Championship where he has finished runner-up three times

Former professional golfer Danielle McVeigh. Of playing so well through her father’s illness and following his death, McVeigh now believes she “just blocked it out”. Photograph: Eric Luke

Former golf professional who attended counsellors for depression has found there is more to life than golf

Peter Lawrie during the second round of the European Tour qualifying school final stage in November in Girona, Spain.Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Dubliner who lost his tour card has chance to collect some prize money in South Africa

Captain Paul McGinley (top right) holds the Ryder Cup as Team Europe golfers pose for a group photograph after the closing ceremony of the 40th Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland. Photograph: Phil Noble / Reuters

Philip Reid on the stark contrast in both camps as Europe triumphed again at Gleneagles

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates his one-stroke victory on the 18th green with his caddie J.P. Fitzgerald during the final round of the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club. Photograph: David Cannon/Getty Images

Philip Reid recalls that rain-delayed final round, overcoming fading light to close the deal

 Katie Taylor pictured at Dublin Airport after arriving home from the world women’s boxing championships in South Korea where she won her fifth gold medal. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Brian O’Driscoll and Rory McIlroy trail boxing champion in poll

Lewis Hamilton on stage with presenter Gary Lineker during the 2014 Sports Personality of the Year Awards in Glasgow. Photograph:  David Davies/PA Wire.

Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton pips world’s number one golfer to top prize

Europe captain Paul McGinley, right, with Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell. “I see my role as quite a big one, because we are going into the unknown. With the Ryder Cup captaincy, I knew what I was doing,” said McGinley. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Dubliner consulted with top Irish players including Rory McIlroy before accepting role

Stephanie Meadow smiles  on the second hole during the third round of the 69th US Women’s Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, North Carolina. Photograph:  Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Antrim woman makes debut at Pinehurst No.2 and finishes third with a cheque for €200k

Munster head coach Anthony Foley Mandatory preparing his players before the match against Clermont Auvergne. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Scott Quinnell’s pre-match warning went unheeded by Anthony Foley’s men

Shane Lowry: “A win would top off the year superbly and kickstart my 2015 campaign as well.” Photo: Yoshua Arias/EPA

Offalyman to tee it up for the first time at the lucrative Nedbank Challenge in Sun City

The BBC’s Match of the Day programme is 50 years old – but still delivering the goods

Rory McIlroy  receives the Race To Dubai trophy from HE Saeed Harib, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, after winnng The Race To Dubai at the DP World Tour Championship. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

World number one will defend Australian Open title ahead of Grand Slam bid in April

Rory McIlroy: will pick up prizemoney of over €1 million for his Race to Dubai victory. Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images

Irishman’s remarkable season ensures Tour’s final tournament in effect a dead rubber

  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland has won his second Race to Dubai title.  Photograph:  Scott Halleran/Getty Images

American owed lunch by world number one, who says season saw the best golf of his life

Shane Lowry of Ireland shot a 72 to remain on eight under after three rounds of   the 2014 Turkish Airlines Open at The Montgomerie Maxx Royal  in Antalya, Turkey. Photograph:   Ian Walton/Getty Images

After a poor third round in the Turkish Airlines Open Lowry admitted to being too aggressive, saying his course management let him(...)

Shane Lowry was five-under through 14 before dangerous weather brought play to a close in the second round of the Turkish Airlines Open

Offaly-man five-under through 14 in Turkey before siren signals end of play

Shane Lowry: recovered from a ‘comedy of errors’ to shoot five successive birdies and sign for a two-under-par 70. Photograph:  Ian Walton/Getty Images

Shane Lowry recovers from poor start to finish seven shots back at Maxx Royal

 Sergio Garcia  in action during the pro-am for the Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya.  “I think Rory did something quite extraordinary this season.” Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Barring an extraordinary climax to season, Irishman destined to top the order of merit

 Graeme McDowell: finished third behind Bubba Watson at the  WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai and has now moved up to 15th in the latest world rankings. Photo:   Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Chasing trio would require back-to-back wins to stop Irishman topping Order of Merit

Shane Lowry will be hoping he can break into the the world’s top 50 over the next few weeks. Photograph: Getty Images

Rory McIlroy returns to action later this month while Graeme McDowell also in Shanghai

Chris Martin (chief executive, Musgrave Group) presenting Sean Mulligan (hon secretary, Concra Wood Golf Club) with the All-Ireland Musgrave Crumlin Hospital Club Challenge trophy after their victory at the O’Connor Jnr course at Oceanico golf resort. Photo: Ronan Quinlan

Castleblayney club prevail again at the Oceanico resort on the Algarve

Rory McIlroy:    ‘I’m going to need time away from tournament golf to prepare for the trial over my legal dispute with Horizon Sports Management.’ Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

World number one will not play until the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai late next month

Ireland lived up to the RTE panel’s expectations with the final score. Photograph: INPHO/James Crombie

After the week that was in it, it was hardly a surprise Roy got an extra mention

 Rory McIlroy sits on the 17th tee as he waits to play his shot during the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at The Old Course  in St Andrews, Scotland. Photo:  Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Final Series in the desert a foregone conclusion as Irishman has won over twice as much as his nearest pursuer, Sergio Garcia

Celebrating the Ryder Cup win on Sunday night golfer Rory McIlroy, wearing a red tartan kilt and wig, parties with Scotland’s Stephen Gallagher

Darren Clarke favoured to follow Dubliner into leadership role for Hazeltine in 2016

Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy of Europe celebrate winning the Ryder Cup after Jamie Donaldson defeated Keegan Bradley of the United States on the 15th hole. Photograph: David Cannon/Getty Images

Partnership could be renewed in future and Ryder Cup scheduled for Medinah in 2016

 United States team captain Tom Watson: “I had a different philosophy as far as being a captain of this team. You know, it takes 12 players to win. It’s not pods. It’s 12 players.” Photo: Harry Engels/Getty

Captain seemed distant from his players while his decision to drop Phil Mickelson on Saturday proved controversial

Europe’s Graeme McDowell celebrates winning his singles match on the final day  of the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles Golf Course, Perthshire.

“The Europeans kicked our butt,” conceded Tom Watson. He wasn’t wrong

Rory McIlroy of Europe puts his arm around Sergio Garcia of Europe after the afternoon foursomes yesterday at Gleneagles. Photograph: Harry How/Getty Images

United States lose early momentum after hosts overcome setback to take lead

Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose react after being announced as the first pairing for Europe for the 40th Ryder Cup, at Gleneagles in Scotland. Photograph: Reuters.

Ryder Cup European captain has pick of crop but not necessarily a winning hand

 Europe team captain Paul McGinley: his raised profile  is likely to prove beneficial to his  golf course design work, media deals and sponsorship deals.  Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

While Paul McGinley is not paid directly for his captaincy, it is still a very lucrative role that pays huge dividends over the ye(...)

Tiger Woods of USA tees off on the first hole during the morning fourballs of the first day of the 2006 Ryder Cup at The K Club in  Straffan, Co Kildare, Ireland. His shot swung left and kept going until it found a watery grave. Photograph:  Donald Miralle/Getty Images

McGinley: scene will be of gladiators going into the arena to do battle

Europe’s Graeme McDowell during a practice session at Gleneagles Golf Course, Perthshire.

Alex Ferguson peps up the Europeans as McGinley finalises team pairings

Europe’s Graeme McDowell during a practice session at Gleneagles Golf Course, Perthshire.  Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA

Ulster man determined to improve on his personal record at Medinah two years ago

Rory McIlroy watches the result of his drive during a practice session at Gleneagles Golf Course, Perthshire. Photo:  Andrew Milligan/PA

Callaway, Titleist and TaylorMade drivers the most popular choice of Ryder Cup stars

 Chief feferee Andy McFee talks with Europe team captain Paul McGinley ahead of the 2014 Ryder Cup on the PGA Centenary course at  Gleneagles in Auchterarder, Scotland. Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

Ulster pair won’t be reunited in that format for Ryder Cup showdown with the USA

Jack Nicklaus: “To have Gleneagles, the first course I have designed in Scotland, host the Ryder Cup for the first time in Scotland in 40 years is something that’s very special to me.”

Golden Bear proud that the course he designed will play host to this week’s Ryder Cup drama

European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley during a press conference at Gleneagles Golf Course, Perthshire. Photo: Lynne Cameron/PA

Europe’s captain ponders best use of Irish duo as he prepares for Ryder Cup battle

Alan Thomas celebrates after holing the winning putt for Tramore in Saturday’s Irish Senior Cup final. Photograph: Pat Cashman.

Wateford take Jimmy Bruen shield in sunny weekend for southeast

 Tiger Woods congratulates Rory McIlroy after Europe’s win at Medinah two years ago. This times McIlroy will be the main focus of attention. Photograph: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images.

Victories in last two Majors make Irish man a target for US at Gleneagles

Dave O’Donovan (Muskerry) celebrates their win on the 18th green to clinch victory in the final of the AIG Barton Shield at Carton House yesterday. Photograph:  Pat Cashman

Gorey and O’Donovan retain firm grip on the top match to make difference

One of Paul McGinley’s vice-captains Des Smyth. Photograph: Inpho.

European Ryder Cup vice-captain believes US will use underdog status to advantage

Storming comeback by Royal Dublin falls just short on 20th green

 Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland has been urged by Judge Brian McGovern to engage in mediation with former management company Horizon. Photograph: Getty Images

Former management company claims in court that golfer earned $70m over last two years

Rory McIlroy during the final round of the Tour Championship golf tournament in Atlanta, Georgia. Photograph: EPA

McIlroy ‘tired’ after Tour Championship in Atlanta, but says he’s ready for Ryder Cup

Rory McIlroy, whose final round of 71, was only good enough for tied second place in the Tour Championship at East Lake. Photograph: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

American finishes three shots clear of runners-up McIlroy and Furyk

Rory McIlroy: After twice four-putting at the weekend the world number one said: “I don’t know if it’s fatigue. I don’t know if I’ve lost concentration.” Photograph: Stew Milne/AP

Stenson cites fatigue as reason for poster boys’ withdrawal from Tour Championship

Ireland’s Pádraig Harrington during yesterday’s pro-am before the start of today’s Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

‘Pádraig is my oldest friend on tour, a guy I have known most of my life’

 Rory McIlroy in action  during the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC Boston on Monday.

Ulsterman heads into BMW starting tomorrow in Colorado playing catch-up on Chris Kirk in FedEx Cup series

European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley at the official announcement of Stephen Gallacher of Scotland and Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood of England as his three captain’s picks for the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles at Wentworth yesterday. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Westwood’s burst of recent form sways ‘tight call’ against Luke Donald for Gleneagles duel

Stephen Gallacher: in fine form after third place finish at Italian Open and has good track record at Gleneagles. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images.

Ryder Cup captain may be tempted by Stephen Gallacher’s Gleneagles form

Rory McIlroy tees off on the third hole during the third round of the Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC Boston. Photograph:  Jim Rogash/Getty Images

World number one moves into contention after third round 64 in Deutsche Bank championship

 Graeme McDowell  celebrates with his father Ken (left), Horizon agent Connor Ridge (right) and caddie Ken Comboy after winning the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach. Photograph:  Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy drops to second on FedEx standings after Hunter Mahan’s Barclays victory

Rory McIlroy: can expect to be targeted by the United States at Gleneagles. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Dubliner impressed with world number one's temperament after Valhalla win

 Rory McIlroy  hits an approach shot on the seventh hole during the final round of the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club  in Louisville, Kentucky. Photograph: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

World number one produced series of 300-plus yards drives at Valhalla to claim US PGA title

Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell: believes Rory McIlroy will “win as many Majors as he wants – within reason”. Photograph: Getty Images

Henrik Stenson says US PGA champion is ‘just playing phenomenal golf’

 Rory McIlroy  reacts after winning the 96th US PGA Championship at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. Photograph: EPA

USPGA champion expects to play – and embrace – the role of leader at Ryder Cup

 Tiger Woods has been troubled by a back injury and his loss of form is a concern for USA Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson. Photo:  Andy Lyons/Getty Images

American captain to delay picking his ‘wild cards’ until September 2nd

Shane Lowry made a good account of himself at the PGA Championship at Valhalla, Louisville, Kentucky. Photograph:  Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Offaly man finally gets a break and finishes on a high

Rory McIlroy hits his tee shot on the 14th hole at Valhalla. Photo: David Cannon/Getty Image

McIlroy will take a one shot advantage into final round but won’t have it his own way

Rory McIlroy reacts to a birdie on the 13th green during the second round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Irish man posts a second round 67 to set the clubhouse target at Valhalla

Tiger Woods: has been struggling to rediscover his form following a back operation.

Several of the USA captain’s likely team struggling with injury or loss of form

 Rory McIlroy  hits his tee shot on the 15th hole during the second round of the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla GC in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo:  David Cannon/Getty Images

Irishman posts a second round 67 to step up his bid for the PGA Championship

Tiger Woods tees off on the 15th hole during the first round of the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla. Photograph: Larry Smith/Epa

Phil Mickelson somehow finishes under par while Pádraig Harrington and Tiger Woods struggle

Rory McIlroy hits his tee shot on the 18th hole during the first round of the US PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club. Photograph: David Cannon/Getty Images

Shane Lowry impresses with round of 68

 Pádraig Harrington: hits from a bunker at the 14th green during practice for the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Illinois, USA. Photograph: Tannen Maury/EPA

Irish man ‘working hard’ ahead of date with Woods and Mickelson in PGA opening round

Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke in relaxed mood as they stroll down the 16th fairway during yesterday’s practice session for today’s US PGA Championship at Valhalla. Photograph: John Sommers II/Reuters

Tiger Woods ready for action at Valhalla following intense rehab on injured back

Rory McIlroy adopts the classic James Bond pose for a  photo in the Omega Exhibition prior to this week’s 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

World Number One at the peak of his powers as he looks forward to the PGA Championship at Valhalla

England’s Paul Casey and Jamie Donaldson of Wales practise their putting on the 13th green at Valhalla GC in Louisville. Photograph: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Kentucky course has undergone a major facelift since the 2008 Ryder Cup

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