Rickie Fowler relishing Royal County Down battle with Rory McIlroy

New Players champion Rickie Fowler is relishing his trip to Royal Country Down for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

Eight years have passed since Fowler was last in Northern Ireland as a member of the 2007 USA victorious Walker Cup side.

Now after out-lasting four extra play-off holes to capture the lucrative Players Championship, Fowler’s added to the aura of this year’s Irish Open as a 2015 PGA Tour winner.

And he is also looking forward at going head to head with world number one Rory McIlroy.

“I am looking forward so much to getting back to Royal County Down as every time I get to talk to Rory, he’s talking about how strong the field is going to be for the Irish Open,” said Fowler.

“But to be heading to the tournament later this month now as the Players Champion is going to be extra special.

“I left Royal County Down eight years ago as a young golfer unsure of where my career was headed. I was 18 and unsure what future lay ahead of me.

“So to be returning to Northern Ireland is not only special given what we managed to achieve back in ’07 but to now have won the Players, and to have had the support heading into the play-off from guys like Billy Horschel, who was one of my Royal County Down team-mates, means the world to me.

Billy could not have been more pumped up going back to that ’07 Walker Cup when we were team-mates battling there together.

I have been looking forward so much to return for the Irish Open and with this win in some ways is like the icing on the cake in going back to County Down.”



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