US PGA Champion to play Irish Open

Updated: May 9, 2012

Keegan Bradley, a man who has never played a golf tournament in Europe before, has entered next month’s (28th June – 1st July) Irish Open at Royal Portrush.

The defending US PGA champion will join Northern Ireland’s US Open and British Open title holders (Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke respectively) as three of the four major title holders are set to play this year’s tournament in Co. Antrim.

“I’m very proud of my Irish heritage,” said the American, whose grandparents hail from in County Cork.  ”And I’ve wanted to represent them in the Irish national championship.

“Also Graeme (McDowell) and Darren both have told me what a fabulous lay-out Portrush is, so I’m doubly excited about the opportunity to compete there.”

The Irish Open has not been held in Northern Ireland since 1953, but the victories for McIlroy and Clarke at last year’s US and British Opens led to calls for the tournament to be held in the six counties.  That wish was granted on 8th January when the European Tour announced that the Irish Open would be held at the famous Co. Antrim links.

Last August, 25 year-old Bradley became only the second person since 1913 to win the first Major tournament he participated in when he held off Jason Duffner in a play-off.  Amazingly, Bradley was five strokes behind with only three holes of that tournament left to play.

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