McIlroy & Fowler To Be Reunited At Royal County Down For 2015 Irish Open.

American heart throb Rickie Fowler has confirmed he will join current World No. 1 Rory McIlroy contesting next year’s Irish Open at Royal County Down in Northern Ireland.

It will be a special return to the famed links course for both players having been on opposing sides as amateurs in the 2007 Walker Cup.

Fowler, along with the likes of his American team mate Dustin Johnson edged out the by 12½-11½ the GB & I team and in what was McIlroy’s last appearance before he joined the pro ranks.

Since then, they have gone on to become not only firm friends, but also two of the game’s leading players, with McIlroy having won four Major Championships and Fowler, the current World Number Nine, this year joining Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as only the third player to finish in the top five in all four Major Championships in a single season.

McIlroy and Fowler, who are both 25 years old, have been widely tipped to form one of golf’s most appealing rivalries over the coming years following their memorable battles down the stretch in The Open Championship and US PGA Championship this summer, and their two matches in The Ryder Cup in September.

Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler to contest 2015 Irish Open at Royal County Down.

Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler to contest 2015 Irish Open at Royal County Down.

McIlroy and Sergio Garcia fought back to claim half a point against Fowler and his partner Jimmy Walker in the Friday Afternoon Foursomes at Gleneagles, before McIlroy then produced a sensational performance to defeat Fowler 5&4 in the Sunday Singles.

Fowler was the first player McIlroy approached to join the field for next year’s Irish Open after it was announced that his charitable foundation, The Rory Foundation, will become the official tournament host from 2015, demonstrating his commitment to enhancing the already impressive Irish Open line-up by recruiting some of the leading players from both the European and US PGA for 2015.

The tournament is returning to McIlroy’s native Northern Ireland for the second time in four years following Royal Portrush in 2012, with Royal County Down Golf Club hosting the prestigious event for the first time in 76 years.

McIlroy, the reigning Open and US PGA Champion, announced Fowler’s participation in the 2015 Irish Open, which takes place from May 28-31, on the eve of The European Tour’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, where he will be crowned as winner of The Race to Dubai for a second time in three years.

McIlroy said: “I am delighted that Rickie has decided to add the Irish Open to his schedule next year. I really look forward to him joining me at Royal County Down, one of the world’s finest links courses.

“Rickie’s performances in the Majors and The Ryder Cup this year showed that he is not only one of the top players in the world, but also one of the most watchable. I know the Irish crowds will really take to him and enjoy seeing him in action next May. He was one of the first people I thought of when the Rory Foundation became the official host of the Irish Open, and his presence in the field will only add to tournament’s prestige.

“We have become good friends since we played at Royal County Down in the Walker Cup in 2007, so it will be special for us both to go back there. It would also be great if we could both be in contention towards the end, just like in the Majors this year. I think Rickie’s decision to play also demonstrates the international appeal of Ireland’s top courses and confirms why we are keen for the Irish Open to showcase them.”

Fowler said: “When Rory told me the Irish Open was going to Royal County Down I was really keen to play because of the special memories we have there, and also because it is such a great course. It’s amazing what the players from that Walker Cup have gone on to achieve in the years since we played there, so I’m sure Rory and I will have plenty to reminisce about.

“Rory and I have obviously become good friends I think it is cool what he is trying to do with the Irish Open through the Rory Foundation, so I’m looking forward to being a part of it. It would be neat to think that we could maybe both be battling it out again at Royal County Down next summer, just like we did in the Majors this year.”

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