DDF “de­lighted” with star treat­ment

Golf Digest Middle East - - The Golf Life Eats -

Ti­tle spon­sor Dubai Duty Free has hailed a move that will see the Ir­ish Open hosted by the proud golf­ing na­tion’s big­gest names on an an­nual ro­ta­tion from 2019. Rory McIl­roy’s ‘Rory Foun­da­tion’ has hosted the Euro­pean Tour stop since 2015 and will do so again when the $7 mil­lion Rolex Se­ries event is de­cided at famed Bal­lylif­fin G.C. in County Done­gal from July 5-8. But from 2019, the DDF Ir­ish Open will fol­low the model that has seen the Bri­tish Mas­ters re­vived as for­mer Euro­pean Ry­der Cup cap­tain Paul McGin­ley and ma­jor cham­pi­ons Dar­ren Clarke, Padraig Har­ring­ton, Graeme McDow­ell and McIl­roy serve as hosts on a ro­ta­tion.

Colm McLough­lin, Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Chair­man and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, has wel­comed the move.

“We have en­joyed work­ing with the Euro­pean Tour and see­ing the tour­na­ment grow dra­mat­i­cally in such a short space of time, with it now part of the Rolex Se­ries. We are happy with the plans to ro­tate the host­ing of the tour­na­ment from 2019 on­wards and de­lighted that Paul McGin­ley will be the first to take on that role,” said McLough­lin.

“I would like to thank Rory and his Foun­da­tion for host­ing the Dubai Duty Free Ir­ish Open since 2015. Rory’s in­volve­ment in the tour­na­ment was a key fac­tor in our de­ci­sion to be­come the ti­tle spon­sor at that time.”

The pre­cise fu­ture ro­ta­tion is still to be fi­nalised be­yond 2019 when McGin­ley will do the hon­ours at Lahinch Golf Club (pic­tured above) in County Clare. Des Smyth, one of McGin­ley’s vice-cap­tains dur­ing the 2014 Ry­der Cup at Gle­nea­gles, has been un­veiled as tour­na­ment am­bas­sador, a role which will see him help in the mar­ket­ing and pro­mo­tion of the event for the next four years as well as aid a suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion be­tween each of the hosts.

“Today’s an­nounce­ment is yet an­other ex­cit­ing de­vel­op­ment in the his­tory of one of our great tour­na­ments,” said Euro­pean Tour Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Keith Pel­ley.

“Ire­land has been blessed with many leg­endary golfers over the years and to have five of them agree to host the coun­try’s na­tional Open over the next five years shows a ter­rific com­mit­ment both to their home­land and to the Euro­pean Tour.”

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