DUBAI DUTY FREE IRISH OPEN
With Rory McIlroy back as host and defending champion, it’s little wonder the title sponsor is looking forward to the July 6-9 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. Indeed, Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free is so happy with the association he’s looking well-beyond July’s supped up 2017 edition at Portstewart; DDF are poised to take up a two-year contract extension once the original four-year sponsorship of the European Tour event expires next year.
“We think being the title sponsor of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is good for Dubai and that’s why we do it,” said McLoughlin. “[It] reflects our brand very well and helps us to communicate with our customers in an engaging and interesting way. For us, it is much more than just a tournament, it truly is a real festival of golf.”
Part of that engagement will be an Arabian Nights party for players and officials while Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has been confirmed as a special guest at a pre-tournament fundraising evening in Belfast hosted by McIlroy. All proceeds will go the Rory Foundation.
One of the European Tour’s eight new Rolex Series events, the #DDFIrishOpen is set to be beamed to 450 million homes worldwide. An enhanced $7m purse and a links test a fortnight shy of the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale has also helped lure a star-studded support cast including Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama, Jon Rahm, Danny Willett, Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington, Thomas Pieters, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Andy Sullivan, Matt Fitzpatrick and Chris Wood.
“Portstewart is a wonderful links course that will really test the skill and mentality of the players, so with all things combined we are anticipating… another epic sporting encounter on Northern Ireland’s Causeway coast.”