Limited number of fans will be able to see Rory McIlroy in action at Irish Open
A limited number of spectators will be allowed on site to watch major champions Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry, Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell in next month’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
Tickets will go on sale tomorrow, with a percentage donated to key frontline workers in recognition of their dedicated work throughout the pandemic.
McIlroy had previously said he hoped to play in the event at Mount Juliet from July 1-4, depending on travel restrictions from his home in Florida.
“I am really excited to get back and play the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open,” said McIlroy, who was the tournament host from 2015-2018 and won the title at The K Club five years ago.
“I have so many incredible memories of this event down the years, not least my victory in 2016, and I think it is going to be a pretty special week this July with the fans returning. I’m really excited to play in front of them again.”
Reigning Open champion Lowry added: “I cannot wait to get back and play in front of the Irish crowds again.
“I have been really eager to do so as the Open champion before I defend the Claret Jug and hopefully I can put on a show for them at Mount Juliet for what is sure to be a memorable week.”
o Organisers of a proposed £250million breakaway golf circuit have pledged to “never stop” in their bid to install the Premier Golf League (PGL) at the top of the game’s pyramid.
And PGL chief executive Andy Gardiner is confident the likes of Rory McIlroy will be presented with a choice between the current tours and a new 18-event, Formula One-style season “without fear of reprisals”.
A rival Saudi-backed Super Golf League (SGL) dominated the build-up to the recent US PGA Championship, with 48-year-old Lee Westwood admitting it would be a “no-brainer” to sign a multi-million-pound contract at this stage of his career.
In contrast, McIlroy reiterated his opposition and labelled the proposals a “money grab” similar to football’s European Super League, while players were threatened with bans from established tours and potentially the Ryder Cup if they were to defect.
The PGL is entirely separate from the SGL and is trying to strike a collaborative tone, with each tournament comprising a fortnight-long “festival of golf” with women playing the first week.
There would be 12, four-man teams owned by a mix of global stars and business figures, with women eligible to play for the 13th team, which will be picked by fans. More than 800 juniors will also get to play in the Junior PGL.
“We think this is in the best interests of the game long-term, pure and simple,” Gardiner told the PA news agency
“The world rankings recognise around 20 professional tours just on the men’s side and they generate around 500 events a year between them. That is a very robust pyramid but not all tours are equal obviously and I don’t think the pyramid of golf has ever been fully formed.
“I think if you put the PGL as the top of the pyramid in golf, a similar effect to the Premier League in football takes place where there is greater interest on a global basis, the profile of the sport rises, more eyeballs, more cash. Then it’s about how you distribute that through the pyramid.
“That’s the consultation we now want to have because the European Tour and PGA Tour can be part of this ownership structure, their members can be part of this.”