Graeme McDowell has made “the very difficult decision” to skip this month’s Dubai Duty Fee Irish Open and will instead defend his PGA Tour Corales Punta Cana title in the Dominican Republic.
GMac has been an ever-present at Irish Opens as a professional and was due to host this year’s renewal in its original May date at Mount Juliet before Covid-19 reared its ugly head.
Now, with a US Open date in the pipeline next week and still so much uncertainty circulating around the pandemic, he announced via social media that he won’t be travelling to Galgorm Castle.
“I have never failed to attend this great event in 18 previous years and regret that due to the necessary changes made to the event, travel and scheduling issues, I am choosing to not play this year,” McDowell said in a statement.
“I will be competing that some week at the Corales Punta Cana Resort and Club Championship, defending the title I won in 2019.
“Defending a title is something special and on honour I have tried to take seriously all my career. Under normal circumstances defending this event would not take priority over playing my home Open, but the unprecedented circumstances make this a better option for me at this time.
“I want to apologise to Dubai Duty Free and take an opportunity to again thank them for the wonderful commitment they have made to putting the Irish Open back on the map.
“We will hopefully be back in 2021, with the event at full strength, surrounded by the great Irish fans, assuming we can put the issues caused by COVID behind us.”