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McDowell to host Irish Open in 2020, 2021

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Graeme McDowell will serve as tournament host for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in both 2020 and 2021, continuing a recent trend of Irish players throwing their arms around the European Tour event.

Rory McIlroy put his charitable foundation behind the tournament for multiple years earlier this decade, with Paul McGinley taking over hosting duties for this year's edition. Now it's McDowell who will become the face of the tournament, which will be played May 28-31 next year at Mount Juliet and is once again designated as a Rolex Series event.

McDowell, 40, won the Corales Punta Cana Resort Championship earlier this year to secure exempt PGA Tour status through the 2021 season. He also qualified in memorable fashion for his hometown Open, holing a 72nd-hole par putt at the RBC Candian Open to secure a spot at Royal Portrush.

The Irish Open has bounced between Ireland and Northern Ireland in recent years, held in Northern Ireland in 2012 (Royal Portrush), 2015 (Royal County Down) and 2017 (Portstewart). Earlier this year reports indicated that Castlerock put in a bid to become the 2021 venue, which has not yet been determined, and the Ulsterman has expressed a desire to see the event return north of the border under his watch.

"Our island is famous for its incredible golf courses and passionate golf fans, both north and south of the border, and obviously I would love to bring the event to Northern Ireland in 2021," McDowell told RTE. "But my focus now is on next year at Mount Juliet Estate and making sure that is another world-class sporting occasion."