Two more legends of the game – four-time Major-winner Ernie Els and Ryder Cup talisman, Sergio Garcia – have become the latest superstars to add their names to what is fast becoming one of the strongest fields in the tournament’s recent history.
This year’s event at Royal County Down will mark Garcia’s first appearance in 15 years at the tournament which launched his professional career as a precocious teenager in 1999, when he captured his first European Tour title at Druids Glen.
Meanwhile Els, who has accumulated 28 Tour titles during the course of a glittering career spanning more than a quarter of a century, will visit the Irish Open for the first time since 1998.
Their long-awaited return will only add to the growing hype surrounding this year’s event at Royal County Down in Northern Ireland, with American Rickie Fowler and former World Number One Lee Westwood having already announced their attendance alongside tournament host and World Number One Rory McIlroy, his compatriots Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell and defending champion Mikko Ilonen.
McIlroy, whose charitable foundation The Rory Foundation will be the official tournament host this year, has been instrumental in attracting some of the biggest names in world golf to the County Down venue, regarded as one of the greatest links courses in the world.