Top Golfers From Northern Ireland

Last July, the Open finally came back to Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. Shane Lowry won the tournament, by 5 strokes. It was an historic feat as it made him only the 4th player in 5 decades to win his first major by 5 strokes or more. Last to do so was Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy in the 2011 U.S. Open.

With the 148th Open putting the spotlight back on Northern Ireland’s golfing heritage, we have decided to take a look at some of the country’s top golfers. Heading this list, unsurprisingly, is McIlroy.

Rory McIlroy


McIlroy has been Northern Ireland’s finest golfer for over a decade. He has won 16 times on the PGA Tour, and 13 times on the European Tour. The former world number 1 has also been consistent and this year hasn’t been any different. The Independent reports that Holywood’s own has recorded 11 top 10 finishes in 13 tournaments, including 2 PGA Tour wins. He has also won 21 titles worldwide. McIlroy admitted though “[that] there’s a couple of things I’d still like to do.”

Adding to his 4 majors is one of his goals, as McIlroy’s last major was the PGA Championship back in 2014. Unfortunately, injury derailed McIlroy the following season. Ladbrokes’ list of famous sporting injuries notes how a ruptured ankle ligament forced McIlory to miss the 2015 British Open. He returned in time to defend the PGA Championship, but finished 17th. McIlroy has now gone without a major for 5 years. But the 30-year-old is still in his prime and we expect another major on the horizon.

Graeme McDowell


McDowell has had quite the career. The Portrush-born golfer is a one-time U.S. Open champion. He also has 4 PGA Tour titles to go along with 10 European Tour wins. He’s represented Europe four times in the Ryder Cup as well. And McDowell was arguably at his best in the 2014 Ryder Cup. He twice teamed up with Victor Dubuisson to win two foursomes. Then on the final day he came back from 3 down to beat Jordan Spieth. Still just 40, McDowell is still going strong. In fact, he won his 4th PGA Tour title early this year at the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship.

Darren Clarke


Clarke was the recipient of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his contributions to golf. He achieved plenty of success on the European Tour, where he won 14 titles in all. Then at 42, and in the twilight of his career, Clarke added the 2011 Open to his list of achievements. Fittingly, he was chosen to hit the first tee shot at the 2019 Open at the Royal Portrush. It was a well-deserved honour for one of Northern Ireland’s best. Clarke is still playing, though this time on the PGA Tour Champions.

Stephanie Meadow


The youngest on this list, Meadows is just beginning her career on the pro circuit. But she had a distinguished amateur career on the other side of the Atlantic as a member of the University of Alabama golf team. She even placed third in the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open as an amateur. Meadow turned pro in 2017, and won the IOA Championship a year later.

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