• The Irish Open has a rich history of winners, dating back to 1927, the year it was first played. In all, 14 Major Champions have triumphed in the event. They are: George Duncan (1927), Alf Padgham (1932), Reg Whitcombe (1936), Bobby Locke (1938), Fred Daly (1946), Ben Crenshaw (1976), Hubert Green (1977), Seve Ballesteros (1983, 85, 86), Bernhard Langer (1984, 87, 94), Ian Woosnam (1988, 89), José Maria Olazábal (1990), Nick Faldo (1991-93), Michael Campbell (2003) and Padraig Harrington (2007).
• In 2007 Padraig Harrington became the first Irishman to win The Irish Open since John O’Leary, 25 years earlier. Should The Open Champion win again in 2009 he would join Harry Bradshaw (1947 and 1949) as the only other Irish player to win their National Open on two occasions.
• Should Richard Finch make a successful defence of his Irish Open title, he would become just the sixth golfer to claim the championship in consecutive years. The five to achieve this feat are: Nick Faldo (1991-93), Mark James (1979-80), Seve Ballesteros (1985-86), Ian Woosnam (1988-89) and Colin Montgomerie (1996-97).
• Ireland enjoyed a wonderful 2008 on The European Tour. In addition to Padraig Harrington winning back-to-back Major Championships, the country won a further six events, making eight in total – their most in a single European Tour season. With Rory McIlroy and Michael Hoey winning their maiden European Tour titles earlier this season, Ireland have now produced a total of 20 different winners on The European Tour, claiming 79 European Tour titles between them.
• To highlight the strength of the field for The 3 Irish Open, at the close of entries, 96 of the 156 players from 21 countries have won on The European Tour. Between them they have amassed a total of 319 European Tour titles.
• When Padraig Harrington defeated Bradley Dredge for the 2007 title, it was the tenth time the tournament had be settled by a play-off since The European Tour began in 1972. This extends The Irish Open’s record for most play-offs in any European Tour event.
• When winning the 1992 and 1993 Irish Open, Nick Faldo created European Tour history by becoming the only player to win the same event in consecutive years, via consecutive play-offs. In 1992 he beat Wayne Westner and 12 months later defeated José Maria Olazábal.
• Thomas Björn’s 78 in the first round of the 2006 Irish Open matched the highest first round score by a winner in European Tour history. This was first established by George Burns at another Irish tournament, the 1975 Kerrygold International.
• Colin Montgomerie will be looking for his fourth Irish Open crown, which would be a record. Currently he shares the record for most victories with Seve Ballesteros (1983, 85 and 86), Nick Faldo (1991-93) and Bernhard Langer (1984, 87, 94). Montgomerie claimed his three wins in 1996-97 and 2001. The Scot holds a number of Irish Open records, including the lowest winning total of 266 at Fota Island in 2001.
• Des Smyth will be playing on his home course for what will be his 594th European Tour event. Only Eamonn Darcy , with 610 has made more European Tour appearances by an Irishman. Smyth shares a European Tour record with Mark McNulty as the only players to win an official European Tour event in all four decades since The European Tour began in 1972.
• Brett Rumford won the championship in 2004 the only time County Louth staged the event. Rumford became only the second Australian, following Ossie Pickworth in 1950 to win Ireland’s National Open.