As expected, the European Tour has announced the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will be played at Galgorm Castle Golf Club in Co. Antrim from September 24-27.
It will be the first time the venue will host Ireland’s national Open with the event moving into the date vacated by the rescheduling of The 2020 Ryder Cup to 2021.
The 2020 Ryder Cup would have been a celebration of Irish golf with three-time Major Champion Pádraig Harrington captaining Europe in the contest at Whistling Straits – the third Irish golfer to captain Europe in the past four contests. While that will now happen next September, the 2020 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Galgorm this September will mark a new chapter in the tournament’s history.
The 2020 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open was originally scheduled to take place at Mount Juliet Estate, Co. Kilkenny from May 28-31 last, but was postponed on March 30 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
With quarantine restrictions for travellers into the Republic ongoing and the ban on mass gatherings still in place, the European Tour made the decision to move the tournament to the north where it will be subject to similar guidelines to the current ‘UK Swing’ events, including being played behind closed doors. The European Tour has also confirmed that planning remains on-going for the tournament to return to Mount Juliet in 2021.
The 2020 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will now have a prize fund of €1.25 million and therefore will not be part of the Rolex Series.
Keith Pelley, European Tour Chief Executive, said: “The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is an integral part of the European Tour’s schedule and despite the obvious challenges of staging any event in the current circumstances, we felt it was important to continue with the tournament providing we could do so safely.
Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, said: “We are pleased that the Galgorm Castle Golf Club in County Antrim has been selected as a suitable venue, with the Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort as the official accommodation. Without a doubt, the tournament will be different this year but we think that the players and fans are going to enjoy this return to world-class golf on the Island of Ireland.”
Gary Henry, Managing Director Galgorm Castle, said: “To host the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is an historic moment and wonderful opportunity to showcase the world-class facilities at Galgorm and demonstrates that Northern Ireland is open for business. The Northern Ireland Open, supported by The R&A on the European Challenge Tour will also be played at Galgorm at the start of September and so the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will be another welcome boost to the local economy.”
Galgorm Castle Golf Club has hosted the Northern Ireland Open on the European Challenge Tour since 2013, including last year’s innovative tournament – the ISPS Handa World Invitational Men|Women presented by Modest! Golf Management which featured both a men’s and women’s competition.
Despite hosting the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open from September 24-27, the Co. Antrim venue will continue its involvement with the Challenge Tour by also hosting the Northern Ireland Open hosted by The R&A from September 3-6.
The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Galgorm Castle Golf Club is the fourth time the tournament has been played in Northern Ireland since 2012 when Royal Portrush became the first course north of the Irish border to host the tournament since 1953.