Rickie Fowler to play in Irish Open at Royal County Down

Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler shake hands after the Northern Ireland player wins their single match at the Ryder Cup in September
Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler shake hands after the Northern Ireland player wins their single match at the Ryder Cup in September

American star Rickie Fowler has confirmed his entry for the Irish Open at Royal County Down next May.

Fowler, who secured top-five finishes in all four majors this year, is a friend of world number one and Co Down man Rory McIlroy.

Their friendship began when the pair played at the venue in the Walker Cup in 2007.

"I really look forward to him joining me at Royal County Down, one of the world's finest links," said McIlroy.

McIlroy piped Fowler to the Open and USPGA titles this year and defeated the American in the Ryder Cup singles in September.

"I am delighted that Rickie has decided to add the Irish Open to his schedule next year," added McIlroy.

"It would also be great if we could both be in contention towards the end, just like in the majors this year.

"I think Rickie's decision to play also demonstrates the international appeal of Ireland's top courses and confirms why we are keen for the Irish Open to showcase them."

Fowler was the first player McIlroy approached to join the field for the event after it was announced that his charitable foundation, The Rory Foundation, will become the official tournament host from 2015.

"When Rory told me the Irish Open was going to Royal County Down I was really keen to play because of the special memories we have there, and also because it is such a great course," said Fowler.

"It's amazing what the players from that Walker Cup have gone on to achieve in the years since we played there, so I'm sure Rory and I will have plenty to reminisce about."

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