Graeme McDowell pulls out of Irish Open to defend Mexico title

Northern Ireland golfer outlines ‘very difficult decision’ to skip Galgorm Castle event

Graeme McDowell will skip the Irish Open this year. Photograph:   Sean M Haffey/Getty Images

Graeme McDowell will skip the Irish Open this year. Photograph: Sean M Haffey/Getty Images

 

Graeme McDowell, who was originally due to play host to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open when it was pencilled into the schedule pre-Covid for Mount Juliet back in May, has confirmed he will not be playing in the tournament later this month.

The Irish Open has been rescheduled for Galgorm Castle in Co Antrim but McDowell has made what he described as “the very difficult decision” not to make the transatlantic trip for the tournament.

“I have never failed to attend this great event in 18 previous years and regret that due to the necessary changes made to the event, travel and scheduling issues, I am choosing to not play this year,” said McDowell, who instead will compete at the Corales Punta Cana Championship on the PGA Tour, an event he won in 2019.

He added in a statement: “Defending a title is something special and an honour I have tried to take seriously all my career. Under normal circumstances defending this event would not take priority over playing my home Open, but the unprecedented circumstances make this a better option for me at this time.”

McDowell said that he hoped to resume playing in the Irish Open next year, when it is expected to be re-established as a Rolex Series event on the European Tour with Mount Juliet expected to be the venue.

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