McClean dreaming of all-Irish fourball ahead of Masters debut

John Craven

Matthew McClean (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

Matt McClean has put out the call to Rory McIlroy, Séamus Power and Shane Lowry in the hopes of playing an all-Irish four-ball during the practice rounds in the lead-up to this year’s Masters tournament.

The Malone amateur earned his invite to Augusta National courtesy of a famous victory at the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Erin Hills where he got the better of Irish international teammate Hugh Foley in the final.

McClean became just the seventh Irish amateur to qualify for the famous tournament amongst the Georgia pines and with his invitation framed as a memento to savour for a lifetime, he’s now ready to make more memories with an all-Irish practice round firmly in his mind.

“It would be cool,” McClean told the BBC’s Stephen Watson.

“I don’t know if Rory, Séamus or Shane watches these things but listen, it would be cool to get out in one of the practice days with some of the Irish guys. There’s four of us playing so it makes a pretty good fourball if that did come about!”

Having grown up watching The Masters like every golf fan, McClean admits he’s still pinching himself ahead of his debut in April, and doesn’t expect the reality to sink in until he arrives Stateside for the tournament.

“It probably hasn’t really sunk in in terms of the magnitude of it, of being there, and it probably won’t sink in until I get there on the Saturday or the Sunday before,” he said.

“It’s going to be an experience that you’ll never experience again – your first Masters, who knows, it could be the last one so it’s just about enjoying the experience that you know very few people get to live out.”

And speaking of experiences very few get to live out, McClean had the privilege of an early trip to Augusta National in January to get a first look at the course in person. He played a two-ball of a Tuesday in splendid isolation, and his playing partner for the day was none other than the man he pipped to the invitation at Erin Hills – Foley.

“I got up there at the start of January and was able to get out there for a couple of days with Hugh [Foley] actually,” McClean revealed.

“So we got to play a nice two-ball of a Tuesday morning – no one else on the course. It was pretty cool to see the place. One of the bucket-list things in golf is just to step foot on the grounds. Even playing the golf course was probably something unimaginable six months ago!”

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