Rory McIlroy: Former winner to return to compete at Irish Open at Mount Juliet in July

Rory McIlroy will return to compete at the Irish Open at Mount Juliet in July after missing last year’s tournament at Galgorm Castle.

A limited number of spectators will be allowed on site to watch McIlroy and fellow Irish major champions Padraig Harrington, Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell take part in the event.

McIlroy was tournament host from 2015 to 2018 and won at The K Club in 2016.

“I am really excited to get back and play the Irish Open,” said McIlroy.

“I have so many incredible memories of this event down the years, not least my victory in 2016, and I think it is going to be a pretty special week this July with the fans returning. I’m really excited to play in front of them again,” added the world number 10.

Reigning Open champion Lowry added: “I cannot wait to get back and play in front of the Irish crowds again.

“I have been really eager to do so as the Open champion before I defend the Claret Jug and hopefully I can put on a show for them at Mount Juliet for what is sure to be a memorable week.”

Lowry and Harrington took part in September’s 2020 Irish Open at Galgorm in County Antrim but, like McIlroy, McDowell was absent.

Tickets will go on sale on Thursday, with a percentage donated to key frontline workers in recognition of their dedicated work throughout the pandemic.

The purse for the Irish Open has been upped to £2.7m even though the tournament will not be part of the Rolex Series.

The Kilkenny venue was scheduled to host the 2020 version of the event before Covid-19 led to a postponement.

Galgorm Castle later staged the tournament with a significantly reduced prize fund of £1.13m.

Back in 2019 when the event was one of the European Tour’s elite events, the Irish Open’s prize fund was £5.6m.

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