Graeme McDowell has strongly sounded his delight should Royal Portrush host an Asian Tour event.
McDowell, who is contesting this week’s International Series England event on the Asian Tour, grew up in Portrush. He’s often spoken off of his long association with the club, so much so he probably knows both the famed Dunluce and Valley courses like the back of his hand.
As well, McDowell’s parents reside in Portrush.
The golf world saw Royal Portrush in all its glory four years ago when Shane Lowry captured the 2019 Open Championship, and with the R&A so buoyed by the financial rewards it gleaned, it’s taking golf’s oldest major back to the Northern Ireland golfing gem in 2025.
We’ve seen the Asian Tour not worried about taking their tour to new destinations with events already this year in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, New Zealand, Thailand, India, Hong Kong, Vietnam, South Korea, Indonesia and now this week in north-east England and next week remarkably St. Andrews
Events will follow in Taipei, Singapore, Macau, Bangladesh, Hong Kong and the final 2023 tournament in Indonesia.
So, why not golf mad Northern Ireland and with Royal Portrush one of the famed true golf links.
“You’ve got to look at every tour in the world, look at the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, they try and take advantage of global opportunities and I think the Asian Tour are always happy to travel around the world and I think taking this product to places that have never been before like the UK and Ireland, right and perhaps North America, South America, who knows kind of what the future may hold but I think it’s so great that and I think golf tours should be global,” said McDowell at this week’s International Series England.
So, why not the Asian Tour travelling to Royal Portrush?
“I’d love to go up there, obviously we’re kind of happy with the partnership that we have now with the Asian Tour and Commissioner Cho (Cho Minn Thant) and his whole team. They’re a great team and I think we’re proud as LIV players and top players and guys that are obviously big names coming over to support the Asian Tour and I think it’s great to see them benefiting from it and I think it’s just the beginning, where can this go? I think you can go to great places.
“The European Tour (DP World Tour) has never been European ever, it’s kind of travelled all over the world. So I think you know Asia has to take advantage of new markets, new opportunities and take their players around the world because speaking from my point of view, I think it made me a better player playing on the European Tour when I was young because I got exposure to all different types of cultures and golf courses and grasses and environments around the world.
“I think it’s great to see the Asian Tour coming to new destinations. It’s great for the game, it’s great for the business of the game and every tour in the world’s doing it now so it’s definitely important to follow suit.”
McDowell posted scores of 71 and 69 to be sharing 16th place at two-under heading to the weekend rounds at Close House.
The duo of Spain’s Denis Puig and American Jason Kokrak lead the way at six-under.