This year???s event at Royal County Down will mark Garcia’s first Irish Open appearance in 15 years, where the Spaniard captured his first European Tour title as a teenager with a three-shot win at Druids Glen in??1999.??
“I cannot wait to return to a tournament which has such great memories for me,??? Garcia. ???You could say this event is where it all began for me.
???Not only am I returning to a very special event, but to a venue of which I have heard some incredible things. Royal County Down is a world-famous links and going by what Rory has been telling me, it could possibly be the best course I play this year.
???I feel like I have a great connection with the Irish golf fans. They are knowledgeable and respectful and also good fun??
Hosted by world No 1 Rory McIlroy’s charity, The Rory Foundation, the tournament already has confirmed entries from Lee Westwood and Rickie Fowler, while Northern Irish duo Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell are also set to feature.??
Ernie Els is included as he aims to win his first career??title in Ireland for over a decade, while defending champion Mikko Ilonen returns looking to retain his title.??
???To have Rickie, Sergio, Ernie, Lee, Darren and Graeme, as well as Mikko, already committed by February is incredible,” McIlroy said. “I???m really proud to be involved in what is shaping up to be one of the great events of The European Tour season.
???I was confident I could convince a lot of great players to come and play the Irish Open this year but the response so far has exceeded all of my expectations.
“Hopefully we???ll have a few more big names to add to that list in the next 100 days.”