x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Dyson looks to benefit as Irish Open returns to Northern Ireland

The tournament is being staged in Northern Ireland for the first time in more than half a century - at a time when the country's golfers are under the spotlight.

Simon Dyson lets fly off the tee.
Simon Dyson lets fly off the tee.

Defending Irish Open champion Simon Dyson hopes to reignite his bid for a Ryder Cup place by retaining his title at Royal Portrush.

The tournament is taking place in Northern Ireland for the first time in 59 years, with hopes it could lead to The Open returning to the country in the near future.

Dyson, who won the competition at Killarney last year, is looking forward to lining up on the links course at the sold-out event.

"There was a smile on my face a little bit when I heard it was coming to a links course," he said.

"Links is my favourite type of golf by far. I've won Dunhill (at St Andrews) and I won at Kennemer (the Dutch Open) a couple of times.

"It kind of suits my eye and if I keep the form I've got at the minute and hole a few putts I like it - I like it a lot.

"I think it's the fact that you stand o a tee box and you've got to visualise a shot.

"It's not a 500-yard par four where you know you've got to hit it 320. This is more about manoeuvring the ball, which someone like Darren Clarke is fantastic at.

"I think that's probably the best aspect of my game - I can hit pretty much any shot.

"When I'm playing well obviously I can hit the high draw, the low draw, the high cut, the low cut.

"A lot of the course we play now are 7,500 yards and it kind of takes that out of the game, so it's nice to come back to how golf was first played."

Dyson was out for a month with a pelvic problem recently, but made the cut on his return at the US Open - no meant feat even if he was fully fit - and admits he feels ready to relaunch his Ryder Cup debut bid.

The return of the championship to Northern Ireland comes following back-to-back US Open victories by Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy, followed by the Open Championship triumph by Darren Clarke last July.

The three local stars will get their chance to shine in front of an estimated 100,000 spectators across the competition, and Dyson said: "All of the boys had said that it was a fantastic place to play golf and I know they were promoting it really well.

"That's what is deserves. The Irish Open is a fantastic tournament and it's set up a fantastic week - the crowds are going to be great."


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