The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation, the fourth Rolex Series event of the year, visits Ballyliffin Golf Club this week and we’ve selected five storylines to look out for…
The European Tour’s International Schedule is now in full swing and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open marks the halfway stage of the prestigious Rolex Series.
The Ballyliffin event is the fourth Rolex Series event of the year – an exclusive group of tournaments with a minimum prize fund of US $7million.
It is the second of three consecutive Rolex Series events following the HNA Open de France last week, and ahead of next week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.
Rolex Series events provide players with an opportunity to secure important Race to Dubai points, as well as increased Ryder Cup points with the biennial contest edging ever-nearer.
Return of the Rahm
World Number Five Jon Rahm will tee it up in defence of his Dubai Duty Free Irish Open crown this week.
The Spaniard won his first of two Rolex Series titles at Portstewart Golf Club last year, racing to a six-shot victory ahead of nearest challengers Richie Ramsay and Matthew Southgate.
Rahm won his second Rolex Series event at the year-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai and is the only player, alongside Alex Noren, to have won more than one Rolex Series tournament.
The Rory Foundation
Four-time Major Champion Rory McIlroy’s charitable initiative, the Rory Foundation, will host the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open for the fourth and final time this week, as the tournament enters an exciting new era.
The Rory Foundation is a non-profit charitable foundation with the ambition of having a positive impact on children’s and their families’ lives.
From 2019, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will be hosted by a rotation of five greats of Irish golf. McIlroy, Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Paul McGinley, who will host next year’s event, will share the hosting duties on a rotation basis, similar to the model successfully used by the British Masters.
With a high-profile golf tournament comes a high-profile Pro-Am, and some of Ireland’s biggest names are set to tee it up at Ballylilffin on Wednesday.
Former Manchester City and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given, Donegal’s GAA Football Captain Michael Murphy and record-breaking Champion Jockey AP McCoy are just three of a host of names representing the world of sport.
BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing veteran Anton du Beke, singers Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy, and critically acclaimed actor James Nesbitt will also be among the celebrities taking part.
The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open makes its debut at Ballyliffin Golf Club this year, one of the most northern golf courses on the island of Ireland.
Some of the world’s best players will tee it up on the Glashedy Links, which, alongside The Old Links, is one of two courses at the club.
Fashioned around the incredible dunes, the Glashedy Links offers a real test of a player’s entire game, as well as breath-taking coastal views.
According to Rory McIlroy, Ballyliffin is “one of the toughest links courses in the world. It’s really well designed, it’s a beautiful course and Donegal is just a beautiful area.”
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