By Ray O’Hanlon
What do you get when you add the two numbered date, May 28-31, for the upcoming Irish Open golf championship at Royal County Down?
You get 59.
And that’s the score that Rory McIlroy was potentially looking at on the 16th hole in the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship yesterday in Quail Hollow, Charlotte, North Carolina.
In the end, McIlroy finished with two pars and carded a 61.
That said, the County Down native obliterated the tournament four round record while notching up his second win in three PGA tournaments.
McIlroy’s win was also a repeat in that the now 26-year-old’s first PGA victory was in the same tournament at the same venue in 2010.
The victory, then, was a sweet one for McIlroy, but across the Atlantic it was sweeter still as it perfectly tees up the Irish Open and Rory’s starring role in the tournament.
Quail Hollow was McIlroy’s last U.S. outing before flying east for a European tour swing that will be highlighted by the Dubai Duty Free Irish open hosted by, well, The Rory Foundation.
The Open is to be played at the fabled Royal County Down course and so will be as near a home game for McIlroy as his possible.
To say Rory wants to win his first Irish Open, and on this course, would be an understatement.
But McIlroy is also responsible for luring an array of players who will have ideas other than another Rory win.
They include in the in-form Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, and Ernie Els, who has four golf Majors to match Rory’s total to date.
Also in the field will be the other members of the Irish Majors club, Graeme McDowell, Darren Clarke and Padraig Harrington, a winner once again on the PGA tour this year.
Others making tracks for the first tee at Royal County Down include defending champion Mikko Ilonen of Finland, and former world number one, Lee Westwood.
Suffice it to say, the Irish Open, which was teetering on the brink of oblivion just a few years ago, has come back with a roar.
And a Rory.
More at www.irishopen.ie.