Graeme McDowell's return to Royal Portrush, a links he used to walk as a youngster, was one of golf's feel-good stories in 2019. The Ulsterman is going back—and giving back—to his homeland in a different capacity starting next season.
McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open champ, was named on Monday as the host of the European Tour's Dubai Duty Free Irish Open for 2020 and 2021.
“I’m really looking forward to taking on that responsibility over the next two years and adding to the history of this great tournament, which has become a global spectacle that Irish golf fans can be proud of," McDowell said in a statement.
McDowell, 40, is a 10-time Euro Tour winner, and a member of four European Ryder Cup teams. This is not his first time serving as a tournament host, helping shepherd the 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational following Palmer's passing in 2016.
McDowell's responsibilities, however, will be expanded from those at Bay Hill, and his appointment coincides with Northern Ireland's bid to host the event at Castlerock in 2021. Next year's tournament will be at Mount Juliet Estate in Kilkenny, Ireland.
“Our island is famous for its incredible golf courses and passionate golf fans, both north and south of the border, and obviously I would love to bring the event to Northern Ireland in 2021," McDowell said. "But my focus now is on next year at Mount Juliet Estate and making sure that is another world-class sporting occasion.”
McDowell takes the reins from Paul McGinley, who acted as a one-year host after Rory McIlroy signed off following a four-year run.