Ireland’s leading trio together in a WGC for first time in four years

Bernie McGuire

Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Bernie McGuire

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For a first time in four years, all three leading Irish golfers – Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell – will compete in a World Golf Championship.

The trio of Major winners, headed by World No. 1 McIlroy, are contesting this week’s €9.72m WGC – Mexico Championship starting Thursday very high up at altitude in Mexico City.

The last occasion McIlroy, Lowry and McDowell were together in the same WGC was the 2016 staging of the WGC -Cadillac Championship at Trump Doral in suburban Miami.

It was the last staging of an event at the course owned by then US Presidential nominee, Donald Trump with the now 45th President known to be ‘slightly’ angry by the mostly-led PGA Tour, but Federation of Tour’s decision to can the event and take the tournament to Mexico which seemed ironic after Trump’s controversial Mexican ‘rapists and murderers’ comments.

McIlroy and Lowry earned their places this week long ago with ‘G Mac’ joining the duo on the back of last month’s brilliant Saudi Invitational triumph along the Red Sea shoreline.

“I’ve played a lot of WGCs in my career and I think you do take them for granted a little,” said McDowell.

“They are amazing tournaments when you get the best players from all over the world to come together here in Mexico.

“It’s the first time seeing the golf course for me and it’s a great track, reminds me a little of Valderrama and obviously you’ve got the altitude so the ball goes a long way. But I’m excited to be back in these WGC events.

“It’s important for me, if I have aspirations of being in the Ryder Cup team, then I’ve got to be in the WGCs and Major Championships so it’s really important to take that first step, to get my schedule to where it needs to be and hopefully, I can kick on from here.

“We’re here to do a job this week. This is certainly not some icing on the cake from the win out in Saudi Arabia. This is about kicking on into the rest of the season and using these events as platforms to get where I want to be.”

Of course, McDowell will be looking to improve his current No. 47 World Ranking so that by March 30th he’s wrapped-up a Masters invitation.

Lowry meanwhile teed-up last year in Mexico City but finished well down in the limited, no-cut event.

The Offaly golfer returns as a reigning Major Champion and what better incentive could there be for the 32-year old competing on the North American continent for a first occasion this year.

“I’ve had a nice couple of weeks off, I had four weeks in a row at the start of the year so it’s a long four weeks when it’s the first run of the year,” he said.

“I felt like I played OK in Dubai and Saudi and I’m happy to be over here now, in Mexico this week and in the USA for the next couple of months, and hopefully I can put in a few good performances.

“Obviously I’ve won a WGC before so it’s nice and it’s a very tricky golf course here this week in Mexico, it’s going to take a lot of good golf to do well here, so we’ll see how it goes.

“I wouldn’t be overly optimistic but I never usually am and I try to come in under the radar and do my thing for the week. Hopefully I can pop up on the leaderboard come Saturday afternoon and give it a run on Sunday.”

McIlroy hardly needs any incentive after last Sunday’s disappointment and also with the likes of World No. 2 Brooks Koepka and Tiger Woods choosing not the tee-up

One of those among the top-10 who will join McIlroy is the new World No. 7 Adam Scott after winning last week’s Tour event in L.A.


IRISH TEE TIMES – Irish time

Graeme McDowell – 5.51pm (1st tee)

Rory McIlroy – 5.51pm (10th tee)

Shane Lowry – 7.15pm (1st tee)

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