[리서치페이퍼=Cedric Dent 기자]
Hideki Matsuyama, ranked number four in the world, will join the field at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in July.
Matsuyama has not played in the Irish Open before.
The Japanese golfer is the highest-ranked competitor confirmed to play if you don't count Northern Ireland's own Rory McIlroy, whose foundation hosts the event.
"I know Rory puts a lot into this tournament and he has done an incredible job raising its profile," Matsuyama says. "I'm really excited and I know it will be a great week."
The Irish Open will be the 25-year-old Matsuyama's first tournament on the European Tour.He has won 13 tournaments, the most recent 2017's Phoenix Open on the PGA Tour, where he snatched victory from Webb Simpson on the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff.Matsuyama won the Phoenix Open in 2016 as well.
Matsuyama has finished in he top 10 three times and the top 20 five times in his last seven appearances in golf's big four Majors.That's one reason he ranks fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking, following such established greats as Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, and Jason Day.
"I am really looking forward to playing the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open for the first time," Matsuyama says. "I have heard great things about the tournament and about the Northern Irish fans. It is important to play some links golf ahead of the Open Championship and I'm sure Portstewart will be the perfect preparation for me."
Lee Westwood, Jon Rahm, Danny Willett, Pádraig Harrington, Shane Lowry, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell, and Darren Clarke are among the other golfers signed up to play.
The Irish Open is scheduled for July 6 to 9 at the Portsetwart Golf Club in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
Photo: 27707/Pixabay[리서치페이퍼=Cedric Dent 기자]