The European Tour has confirmed that the 2020 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will be moved from the Mount Juliet Estate to Galgorm Castle Golf Club and it will be played from September 24th to 27th.
It will be the fourth time since 2012 that the tournament has been played in Northern Ireland and the first time that it will have been hosted at the County Antrim Venue.
The tournament was postponed from May at Mount Juliet at the height of the Covid-19 disruption and negotiations have been ongoing since to find a date and venue that would work.
The new dates are those vacated by the rescheduling of the 2020 Ryder Cup to 2021.
With quarantine restrictions for travellers into the Republic of Ireland ongoing and the ban on mass gatherings still in place, the European Tour made the decision to move the tournament to Northern Ireland where it will be subject to similar guidelines to the current ‘UK Swing’ events, including being played behind closed doors.
Mount Juliet in 2021
Planning remains on-going for the tournament to return to Mount Juliet in 2021 providing all health guidelines in place at that time can be met.
Following the changes to the date and the venue, allied to the overall disruption to the schedule, the 2020 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will have a prize fund of €1.25 million and therefore will not be part of the Rolex Series.
The European Tour will announce full plans for the Rolex Series in due course.
“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,” said Keith Pelley, European Tour Chief Executive.
“We did that, first and foremost with the support of Colm McLoughlin and everyone involved with our title sponsor Dubai Duty Free who once again showed commitment and understanding of the current global situation, and proved what a wonderful partner of the European Tour they are.”
“We also did it with the support of the Northern Ireland Executive who deserve our sincere thanks.”
“With the ongoing restrictions in the Republic of Ireland, we opted to move the tournament to Northern Ireland and are extremely grateful to Gary Henry and everyone at Galgorm Castle Golf Club for stepping up to host us.”
“I also want to thank Damien Gaffney and everyone at Mount Juliet, our original venue. Everyone at the Kilkenny course was ready to host the tournament this year until circumstances outside their control made that an impossibility. Hopefully, things will be different next year to allow us to return.”
“We have been working closely with the European Tour over the past several months to find a way of staging the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open this year,” added McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free.
“The priority, of course, has been to stage an event that strictly follows all government protocols in light of Covid-19 and to ensure the safety of players and all those involved in the event.”
“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.”
Last year the tournament was on the innovative edge when it was played as the ISPS Handa World Invitational Men|Women, presented by Niall Horan’s Modest! Golf Management, and which featured both a men’s and women’s competition.