• European Tour

Clarke and McDowell commit to Irish Open

ESPN staff
February 26, 2013
Graeme McDowell is hoping home support will inspire him to victory © Getty Images

Both Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell have confirmed they will be taking part in the Irish Open beginning on June 27 at Carton House.

The pair will be joining Padraig Harrington and current world No. 1 Rory McIlroy to complete Ireland's line-up of Major Champions, as well as Carton House Touring Professional Shane Lowry.

All will be bidding to become the first home winner of the tournament since Lowry spectacularly claimed victory back in 2009.

Clarke, who won the 2011 Open, placed third the last time the Irish Open was staged at Carton House seven years ago. The 44-year-old was also a joint runner-up back in 2001 to Colin Montgomerie, and is looking to go a step further this time around.

"The Irish Open is obviously one of the highlights of the year for us, and it is always an event I always look forward to playing in," said Clarke, who is set to make his 22nd appearance at the Irish Open.

"The atmosphere at Royal Portrush last year was unbelievable and I think we can expect some more fantastic home support at Carton House. I played well the last time we were there in 2006 so I'd like to think I can do well again this year," he added.

McDowell has yet to impress at the Irish Open, having achieved a career-best 11th in 2004, and says the home support will be special for him.

"Carton House should be another great venue for the Irish Open," he said. "Obviously Portrush was a huge success last year and was very special for me personally, but I think the Irish golf fans will again support the event and it will be another celebration of Irish golf," adding that he has desires on becoming champion this year.

"Personally, I'd love to win the Irish Open one day and hopefully this can be the year I do it."

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