The theme for this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, hosted by the Rory Foundation, is ‘History in the Making’ and that will certainly be the case when one lucky club team lines up to play alongside a top golf professional in the event’s Pro–Am at The K Club on Wednesday May 18.
For the first time ever, The European Tour and Dubai Duty Free are giving golf clubs around the island of Ireland the chance to play alongside international golf superstars and world famous celebrities following the launch of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Club Challenge.
Part of Rory McIlroy’s ‘five point plan’ to encourage golf clubs to help make this year’s Irish Open one of the best yet, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Club Challenge is a nationwide golf tournament in which all of Ireland’s 420 golf clubs are eligible to compete for one coveted tee slot for three of its members alongside a top professional.
Rory is asking clubs to use existing club competitions to find a Men’s and Ladies’ champion who will then go on to represent their club in regional qualifiers with a national final to be held at The K Club.
The winning team will be invited to participate in the Pro-Am courtesy of title sponsor Dubai Duty Free, which has kindly donated one of its own Pro-Am team spaces for the competition.
Tournament host Rory McIlroy said: “As a huge fan of the Irish Open, it has always been important to me to ensure its longevity and success. I believe that giving a golf club the opportunity to play in what is one of the most exciting events of the week is a great way to encourage clubs to get behind this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. When I was starting my golf journey at Holywood Golf Club,
"I would have loved to have an opportunity like this, so I am urging all golf clubs to get involved. I’m really looking forward to seeing the winning team at The K Club on May 18.” Rory McIlroy
Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, said: “We are very pleased to be able to donate one of our own Pro-Am teams for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Club Challenge and are hoping that all the clubs around Ireland will really embrace this great initiative. It’s a marvellous opportunity for clubs and their members to have the chance to play with some of the world’s top golfers and see the golfing action up close and personal!”
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “We are always keen to get local golf clubs involved in the Irish Open as their enthusiasm and passion for the game are vitally important to the future of golf. So we believe the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Club Challenge is a great initiative to ensure our clubs can get involved in the action at this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.”
How to enter
Golf clubs wishing to enter the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Club Challenge competition must register their interest at www.golfnet.ie/DDFirishopen before February 29, 2016.
The competition works by each club selecting an existing Men’s and Ladies’ singles competition to serve as a team qualifier, in which Junior Members are also eligible to compete. This competition must be held and confirmation of the names of the winners received before April 10, 2016.
The winner of each Men’s and Ladies’ competition selected by the club will form the club’s two-person team, which will then compete in one of 4-6 regional qualifiers which will be held throughout Ireland in late April.
The winners of each regional qualifier will then go forward to compete in the All-Ireland Final, to be held on the Smurfit Course at The K Club in early May.
The winning club will be invited to send their team (male and female participant) as well as an official nominated by the club to compete in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
The format for the regional qualifiers and final will be four-ball better ball.
The Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) and Irish Ladies Golf Union (ILGU) will administer entries and will conduct the regional qualifiers and All-Ireland final.
History in the Making
As well as offering clubs the chance to play in the Pro-Am, there are plenty of other reasons why this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is already making history.
Firstly, this year’s prize fund is €4 million, an Irish Open record which is sure to attract some of golf’s most exciting players.
In addition, having officially hosted a sell-out Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down last year, 2016 is the first year that Rory will be hosting a tournament south of the border, through his charity the Rory Foundation. A portion of all tickets sales this year will go towards the Foundation which was established by McIlroy in 2013 to help children live better lives by raising funds and offering support to children’s charities around the world.
This year will also be the first time that The K Club will host Ireland’s national Open, fittingly on the 10th anniversary of the course hosting Europe’s memorable victory over the USA in the 2006 Ryder Cup.
For more information on the 2016 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation or to purchase tickets www.dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com.The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open 2016 is also supported by the Irish Government under the auspices of the Fáilte Ireland and Sport Ireland.