Watson set for Irish Open?

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Masters champion Bubba Watson has spoken of his love for Ireland – and opened the door to return for this year’s Irish Open.

Golf’s new hero spent part of his first summer at college on a golfing trip to Ireland with fellow students Boo Weekly and Heath Slocum. Now he could return to play in the Irish Open at Royal Portrush, the perfect links warm-up for the British Open in July.

Speaking after his win at Augusta Watson revealed his love affair with links golf in Ireland and confirmed he could make the field when Northern Ireland hosts the Irish Open.

“Maybe!” said the 33-year-old Watson when asked if he would make an appearance at Royal Portrush, home course to major winners Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell.

“I played links golf for the first time when I went to Ireland with my high school buddies when I was 18 and played six courses in about 13 days.

“I’ve played Ballybunion, Waterville, Lahinch twice, the par three where you hit over the rock. Royal County Down, Portrush, Portmarnock. We landed in Dublin and went around the coast. We got a hotel, played golf, got a hotel, played more golf.

“Lahinch was the first links I ever played. We arrived at three in the afternoon, I remember I hit the green on the first and the fairway. Then on the second I missed it behind the bunker and said to the caddie I was going to flop it.

“And the caddie said ‘you can’t do that’. But I played it anyway and it went straight off the green. We played Lahinch twice and played it the next morning and then went to the next course.”