The 2019 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will be played at Lahinch from July 4-7, the European Tour has announced following consultation with next year’s tournament host Paul McGinley, tournament sponsor Dubai Duty Free and local stakeholders.
This will be the first time in the competition’s 91-year history that it will be staged in Clare.
The event will once again feature a minimum prize fund of $7 million and will attract a world-class field to Lahinch, providing a huge boost to the local and national economy.
The tournament enters a new era next year when McGinley leads a rotation of Irish golfing legends – Major champions Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell – in the hosting role, taking over the mantle from Rory McIlroy.
The winning 2014 Ryder Cup Captain will host at a venue for which he holds a great affinity, having triumphed at Lahinch as an amateur when he claimed the South of Ireland Championship in 1991.
The Dubliner will be aided in his preparations for the 2019 event by his close friend and one of his Vice-Captains during The 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, Des Smyth, who was recently announced as Tournament Ambassador, a role which will see him help in the marketing and promotion of the event for the next four years
The announcement has been welcomed locally by Clare County Council and An Garda Síochána. Clare County Council chairman, Councillor Tom McNamara, who has described the Irish Open as a “prestige event” for sport in Ireland.
“The hosting of the Irish Open in Lahinch will deliver a significant boost to the local economy and will showcase County Clare to an international audience,” stated the chairman.
Pat Dowling, Chief Executive of Clare County Council congratulatd the President and Club Captain of Lahinch Golf Club on what is a landmark achievement in the 126-year history of the club.
He said the council looks forward to welcoming thousands of people to the county for an event that will provide a unique opportunity to showcase Clare as an excellent golfing and tourism destination.
John Kerin, Clare Garda Chief Superintendent, has welcomed the announcement, adding, “An Garda Síochána looks forward to working with Lahinch Golf Club, Clare County Council, the local community and all other stakeholders in supporting the hosting of this prestigious event which will bring thousands of visitors and revenue to Clare, along with some of the world’s leading golfers.”
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, said: “We extend our grateful thanks to everyone at the golf club, the local authorities in County Clare and everyone in the south west of Ireland for coming together to make this happen. The tournament is one of the great and historic events on the European Tour, raised to a new level in recent times by the commitment of our title sponsor Dubai Duty Free and its Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Colm McLoughlin.
Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, Dubai Duty Free, Colm McLoughlin who resided in Ennis for many years said: “We are happy with the choice of Lahinch Golf Club as the venue for the 2019 edition of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. Lahinch is a very well-known and popular links course with a 125-year history and has seen many of the greats play there including Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson and Greg Norman as well as all the Irish golfers including Paul McGinley who will act as the tournament host next year.
Paul McGinley described Lahinch as one of Ireland’s truly iconic links golf courses and expressed his delight to be taking the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open to this venue.
“Embedded in the history of Irish amateur golf, as well as in the hearts of our many international visitors, it now deservedly gets the opportunity to showcase itself on the world stage,” he said.
Kevin O’Keeffe, Captain of Lahinch Golf Club, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity of hosting the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch and the involvement of Paul McGinley makes this a particularly special occasion for the Club.
Rose Doyle, Lady Captain of Lahinch said: “We look forward to hosting a truly world class event over our links. With The Open Championship being staged at Royal Portrush, 2019 will be a truly special year for golf in Ireland. Lahinch hosting the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will undoubtedly add significantly to what will be a unique Irish ‘links swing’ as the eyes of the golfing world focus on Ireland in July 2019.”