Irish Open returning to Portrush, says McDowell

Dublin: The Irish Open is going back to Royal Portrush this year for the first time since 1947, world number 13 Graeme McDowell said.

"Fantastic news on the Irish Open 2012 coming to Royal Portrush," 2010 US Open champion McDowell said on his Twitter account. "Always been a dream of mine to play a top event in my home town."

The European Tour is expected to confirm the County Antrim course as the venue of the June 28-July 1 tournament at a news conference Friday.

Portrush is also the home town of Darren Clarke who claimed his first major victory at the British Open in July.

Three Northern Irishmen have won golf majors in the past 18 months - Rory McIlroy also lifted the US Open trophy last June.

"For a small country, to do what we have done is incredible," Clarke said after his win at the Sandwich links on the south-east corner of England.

"People in the past have had a very one-sided view about what goes on in Northern Ireland," he added in a reference to the years of sectarian trouble in the country. "But 99.9 percent of the people you meet here would be genuine, honest, friendly people."

Bureau Report

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