Pádraig Harrington has confirmed he will return to Lahinch Golf Club for the first time since his amateur days at this July’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. The three-time Major champion and 2020 European Ryder Cup Captain will be making his first appearance at Lahinch since winning the Irish Amateur Close on the famous Clare links in 1995.
Harrington is the latest star to join the field for this year’s European Tour Rolex Series event, hosted by Paul McGinley, from July 4-7, adding his name to a roster including Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, and Danny Willett, as well as home favourite Shane Lowry.
The Dubliner, unveiled in January as the man to lead Europe into the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, has been sidelined since November with a wrist injury but is set to return to competition this week at the European Tour’s Maybank Championship in Malaysia.
“I’m looking forward to returning to Lahinch for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open,” said Harrington. “It’s one of the great Irish links courses and I think it was an excellent decision by Paul McGinley, the European Tour, and Dubai Duty Free to take the tournament down there this year.
“The last time I played there I won the Irish Amateur back in 1995, shortly before I entered the professional ranks. I’m sure the venue will help generate a fantastic festival atmosphere with the golf course situated in the heart of the village.”
Meanwhile, Patrick Reed believes he is “really close” to producing his best golf on a consistent basis ahead of his Masters defence next month.
The American finished in a share of 47th place at The Players Championship, a week after a tied-50th finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, with his best performances in 2019 coming at the Sony Open and Farmers Insurance Open where he came 13th.
Reed held off late final-round charges from Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler to win at Augusta last year and is refusing to panic ahead of the first major of the season, from April 11-14.
“I’ve put myself in position and have put some solid rounds together, I just haven’t quite put four out there yet at the same time,” Reed told Sky Sports.
“I feel like I’m really close. I feel like I’ve got the bag where I feel really comfortable and confident with it, and now it’s just get some more reps (golf) underneath me, and just kind of get ready for Augusta.”
The 28-year-old will compete in the Valspar Championship in Florida this week and next week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play event in Austin before heading to Georgia.
Reed, whose Masters triumph was the most recent of his six PGA Tour victories, admits another success would be a welcome boost but far from necessary.
“It definitely would help but, honestly, I feel like my mindset and state of mind that I’m in right now is better than it was last year at this point,” he said.
“I’ve hit golf shots and have done things on the golf course that I feel a little bit more comfortable this year doing than I did last year at this point, but I just need to go out and continue playing to put four rounds together.”
Reed says his primary focus is to use the forthcoming events as a chance to confirm the progress he is making in his game. “The preparations have been going really well. I feel like I am in as good form, if not a better place, than I was last year at this time,” said Reed.
“The big thing is just to continue to build and grow on the things that we’ve been working on — my coach and I, and my team and I — throughout the year, and just get ready and kind of get in playing shape for the tournaments coming up.”