Rory McIlroy returns to the site of his famous victory as the Horizon Irish Open is played at The K Club for the first time since his triumph seven years ago.
The Northern Irishman secured his first professional title on Irish soil at the County Kildare venue in 2016 thanks to a stunning birdie-par-eagle finish. His five wood to three feet on the 72nd hole earned him the accolade of Shot of the Year for that season and was also commemorated with a plaque laid in the 18th fairway on the Palmer North Course.
The reigning DP World Tour Number One currently leads the Race to Dubai Rankings in partnership with Rolex, thanks to his two Rolex Series victories earlier this season at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic and Genesis Scottish Open, with his sights set on a fifth Race to Dubai title.
Joining McIlroy in the field this week is defending champion Adrian Meronk, who made history at Mount Juliet last year as he became the first winner on the DP World Tour from Poland. The 30-year-old has since gone on to win two further national opens at the ISPS HANDA Australian Open and DS Automobiles Italian Open.
McIlroy and Meronk will tee it up together in the first round alongside 2014 FedExCup winner Billy Horschel, who also won the BMW PGA Championship in 2021.
Rory McIlroy said “Good to be back here at The K Club where I’ve had by far my best finish at the Irish Open. So yeah, it’s been good to get back and sort of try to refamiliarise myself with the golf course.
“A lot’s happened in the last seven years, so I actually struggled to remember quite a few holes when I played this morning, but it’s also started to come back. Nice to come back, good memories, and just happy to be here and sort of try to keep up the good play and run that I’ve been on the last couple of months.
“I’ve got a nice little cushion in the Race to Dubai at the minute. Depending on what happens over these next two weeks, that will go a long way in where are I end up going into Dubai. Yeah, these two weeks are important. I want to play well for a number of reasons. I want to feel like I’m confident and in good form going into the Ryder Cup obviously. But yeah, I think it would be a pretty cool achievement to win the Race to Dubai for a fifth time and start creeping up on Monty (Colin Montgomerie).”