Rory McIlroy: World number one confirms return of Irish Open in May

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McIlroy won the 2016 Irish Open at the K Club

Rory McIlroy has confirmed that he will return to the Irish Open this year after missing the 2019 tournament.

World number one becomes a member of tournament host Graeme McDowell for this annual tournament on Mount Juliet between 28-31 May, with Open champion Shane Lowry also in the field.

Jon Rahm will defend the title he won in Lahinch in 2019, the Spaniard's second Irish Open triumph.

"I am really looking forward to it," said McIlroy, a four-time big winner.

"It's a little bit different to go back for a date in May as opposed to July and on a park course on Mount Juliet.

" I never played the course but have fond memories – It was the first time I ever saw Tiger Woods play in person. "

McIlroy organized the Irish Open between 2015 and 2018 – won in the K-club in 2016 – but opted from the 2019 field to prepare for the Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

2010 US Open champion McDowell has taken on the host duties for the 2020 tournament at the County Kilkenny location, taking over Paul McGinley.

"I enjoyed the event – it's a privilege to to organize your national open, "added McIlroy, 30.

" I would say to GMac, try to prepare as well as possible for the tournament and make sure it gets its work done the week before.

"You have a lot to do, but I think everyone who organizes a tournament knows that."

BBC Sport NI will have highlights of every round of the 2020 Irish Open from Mount Juliet.

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