Irish Open (golf)

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (Irish: Comórtas Oscailte na hÉireann[1]) is a professional golf tournament on the European Tour. The title sponsor is currently Dubai Duty Free.

Dubai Duty Free Irish Open
Irish Open Logo 2014.jpg
Tournament information
LocationThomastown, County Kilkenny, Republic of Ireland
Established1927, 95 years ago
Course(s)Mount Juliet Golf & Spa Hotel
Par71
Length7,250 yards (6,630 m)
Tour(s)European Tour
FormatStroke play
Prize fund5,000,000
Month playedJuly
Tournament record score
Aggregate264 Jon Rahm (2017)
264 Jon Rahm (2019)
To par−24 Jon Rahm (2017)
Current champion
Australia Lucas Herbert
Location Map
Mount Juliet is located in island of Ireland
Mount Juliet
Mount Juliet
Location in Ireland

The Irish Open was first played in 1927 and was played annually, except for the war years, until 1950. There was a tournament in 1953, but the event was then not played again until revived in 1975. It has been contested annually since then. From 1963 to 1974 Carroll's sponsored a tournament, generally called the Carroll's International and in 1975 they became the sponsor of the Irish Open which became known as the Carroll's Irish Open.

The Irish Open is one of the European Tour Rolex Series events. The Rolex Series started in 2017, with each tournament in the series having a minimum prize fund of $7 million. The date was moved to early July, two weeks before The Open Championship.

Since 2014 (except in 2016), it has been one of the Open Qualifying Series with the leading three players who have not already qualified and who finish in the top ten, qualifying for The Open Championship.

HistoryEdit

 
Pub window art in Lahinch for the 2019 Irish Open

The first Irish Open in 1927 was played at Portmarnock Golf Club from 16 to 18 August. There were 18 holes played on the first two days with the leading 60 players and ties playing a further 36 holes on the final day. In a stiff breeze local professional Willie Nolan led after the first day with a course record 72.[2] On the second day Nolan faded after an 83 and the lead was taken by Henry Cotton on 146 with Jack Smith a shot behind. The cut was 165 and exactly 60 players qualified, including 6 amateurs.[3] Conditions were very poor on the final day with the refreshment and press tents blown down and rain falling in torrents. Jack Smith had an excellent 77 in the morning and with Henry Cotton taking 86, Smith had an eight-shot lead over Cotton and Archie Compston. Smith, however, went to pieces and had a final round of 91 and was overtaken by Cotton, who took 81. George Duncan, starting the final round 14 shots behind, scored 74 and finished with a total of 312, beating Smith by three and Cotton by one. Duncan's score of 74 was remarkable in that it was only two strokes over the new course record, on a day when his 74 and Smith's 77 in the morning were the only two rounds under 80 on the final day. Duncan took the Championship Gold Medal and the first prize of £150. Nolan was the leading Irishman, finishing fifth.[4]

After Duncan's win in 1927, the event was dominated by English golfers, the only other non-English winner before World War II being Bobby Locke in 1938. Ernest Whitcombe won in 1928, the first of four wins by the Whitcombe brothers; Ernest won again in 1935 while Charles won in 1930 and Reg won in 1936. Ernest Whitcombe had rounds of 68 and 69 on the first two days of the 1928 event, to take a seven stroke lead. Rounds of 73 and 78 on the final day were enough to give him a four stroke victory.[5] The 1929 championship was played again at Portmarnock and resulted in a three-way tie on 309, just 3 strokes better than Duncan's score there in 1927.[6] There was a 36-hole playoff the following day. Abe Mitchell and Archie Compston were level after the first round on 75 with Len Holland five behind. Mitchell scored another 75 in the afternoon to win by two strokes from Compston and ten from Holland.[7] Charles Whitcombe dominated the 1930 tournament, winning by 8 strokes from defending champion Abe Mitchell. Whitcombe led by four after the first two rounds and full away further on the final day.[8] the 1931 championship was won by a relative unknown, Bob Kenyon, who won by two after a final round 70. Five players tied for second place, including Ernest Whitcombe who finished with a course-record 66 on the Royal Dublin links.[9]

Alf Padgham won in 1932 with steady rounds of 71-71-71-70, one ahead of Bill Davies.[10] Bob Kenyon won for the second time in 1933. Defending champion Padgham had led after two rounds but had a disappointing third round 76 and finished runner-up, two behind.[11] Syd Easterbrook won at Portmarnock in 1934 with a total of 284, 25 better than the winning score there in 1929, to win by 7 strokes from the Irish amateur, Joe Brown, who.recorded the best finish by an Irish golfer at that time.[12] Two of the Whitcombe brothers, Ernest and Reg, tied in 1935. Bob Kenyon had a good chance to win for the third time but had 5s at the last two holes to finish a shot behind.[13] In the playoff Reg had a bad start, taking 7 at the first hole. He recovered to be level early in the second round but had another 7 and Ernest eventually won by three strokes.[14]

In 1932 and 1933, the Irish Open was preceded by an international match between teams of English and Irish professionals. England won the first match 16–2 and the second match 13–3 with two halves.[15][16] The matches followed the same form as the England–Scotland Professional Match that had been played just before the Open Championship.

After his playoff loss in 1935, Reg Whitcombe won in 1936, two ahead of Bill Davies who was a runner-up for the third time. Whitcombe had final day rounds of 68 and 69 for a record low total of 281.[17] Jimmy Adams seemed the likely winner at Royal Portrush in 1937 after finishing on 285. However Bert Gadd finished with two 3s (eagle-birdie) to win by a shot.[18] 20-year-old Bobby Locke, who had recently turned professional, broke the run of English winners in 1938. Henry Cotton had seemed the likely winner but finished 4-5-5-5 while Locke finished 2-4-4-4 and finished a stroke behind.[19] Arthur Lees won in 1939 with a total 287 with Reg Whitcombe two behind. 19-year-old Irish amateur Jimmy Bruen led after two rounds but scored 75 and 81 on the final day to drop into 6th place, leading amateur for the third successive year.[20]

When the event resumed at Portmarnock in 1946, Fred Daly became the first Irish winner. The tournament turned in a contest between Daly and Bobby Locke, Daly eventually winning by 4 strokes. No one else was within 10 shots of Daly.[21] There was a second Irish winner at Royal Portrush in 1947 when Harry Bradshaw won the title, two ahead of Flory Van Donck. Max Faulkner led after three rounds but a final round 76 dropped him down to third place.[22] Dai Rees won in 1948, his total of 295 being two better than Norman Von Nida. Faulkner again led after three round but a 77 left him tied for third place.[23] Bradshaw won for a second time at Belvoir Park in 1949. Bobby Locke came close to matching him but finished a stroke behind.[24] The 1950 tournament was won by the Australian Ossie Pickworth, two ahead of John Panton and Norman Von Nida.[25]

The event was not held in 1951 or 1952 but was held again in 1953 at Belvoir Park. Eric Brown won with a score of 272, a stroke ahead of Harry Weetman. 22-year-old Peter Alliss had taken an early clubhouse lead on 274 but was eventually beaten by Weetman and then Brown, finishing in third place.[26] After 1953, the event was not played again until 1975; plans to revive the tournament in 1970 were abandoned after backers Pepsi pulled out.[27][28]

Since 1963 Carroll's had sponsored a major tournament, the Carroll's International at Woodbrook Golf Club, which had been a European Tour event since the tour started in 1972. For the 1975 European Tour season the Carroll's International was dropped and Carroll's became the sponsor of the revived Irish Open, which took its place on the tour and was played at Woodbrook in the first year.[29] Christy O'Connor Jnr became the third Irish winner, finishing one ahead of Harry Bannerman, and took the first prize of £5,000.[30]

VenuesEdit

Venue County Province First Last Times
Pormarnock Dublin Leinster 1927 2003 19
Royal County Down Down Ulster 1928 2015 4
Royal Portrush Antrim Ulster 1930 2012 4
Royal Dublin Dublin Leinster 1931 1985 6
Cork Cork Munster 1932 1932 1
Malone Antrim Ulster 1933 1933 1
Belvoir Park Antrim Ulster 1949 1953 2
Woodbrook Wicklow Leinster 1975 1975 1
Killarney Kerry Munster 1991 2011 4
Mount Juliet Kilkenny Leinster 1993 2021 4
Druids Glen Wicklow Leinster 1996 1999 4
Ballybunion Kerry Munster 2000 2000 1
Fota Island Resort Cork Munster 2001 2014 3
County Louth Louth Leinster 2004 2009 2
Carton House Kildare Leinster 2005 2013 3
Adare Manor Limerick Munster 2007 2008 2
The K Club Kildare Leinster 2016 2016 1
Portstewart Londonderry Ulster 2017 2017 1
Ballyliffin Donegal Ulster 2018 2018 1
Lahinch Clare Munster 2019 2019 1
Galgorm Castle Antrim Ulster 2020 2020 1
  • Connacht province has never hosted the event

Tournament notesEdit

The Irish Open has been played at a variety of dates from mid-May to the end of August, but since the start of the Rolex series in 2017 it has been held in early July, two weeks before the Open Championship.

The tournament enjoys one of the largest galleries on the European Tour. In 2010, the Irish Open at Killarney Golf & Fishing Club had an attendance of 85,179 over four days, second only to the BMW PGA Championship. In 2011, Killarney Golf & Fishing Club tallied in excess of 86,500 over four days. This was again the second highest on the European Tour to the BMW PGA Championship. In 2012, Royal Portrush Golf Club had a record attendance of 112,000 over four days; 131,000 over the six days. This was the only time a European Tour event had sold out prior to play on all four days and was the highest attendance ever recorded on the European Tour.

Since 2008, it has been the only European Tour event played in Ireland. The European Open was held at the K Club in Straffan for thirteen years from 1995 to 2007 while the 2007 Seve Trophy and the 2006 Ryder Cup were the last important men's professional team competitions played in Ireland.

Recent sponsorshipEdit

Following the departure of Nissan as title sponsor in 2006, Adare Golf Club, part of the Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort in County Limerick, had planned to host the tournament for three years, from 2007 to 2009. After two years, it was announced in January 2009 that they could no longer sustain the losses incurred by hosting the event for a third year. In early March, the European Tour confirmed the national championship would return to County Louth Golf Club, Baltray, which had last hosted in 2004, with a new sponsor, 3 Mobile.[31]

Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority of the Republic of Ireland, agreed to sponsor in 2011, but with a reduced purse, cut in half to €1.5 million.[32] In 2015 the event was sponsored by Dubai Duty Free in conjunction with the Rory Foundation. In October 2015, it was announced that Dubai Duty Free had extended their sponsorship to 2018 along with the Rory Foundation.[33] In May 2018, it was announced that Dubai Duty Free would extend their sponsorship to 2022. In August 2021 it was announced that the prize money for the tournament would increase to €5 million from 2022.[34]

WinnersEdit

European Tour (Rolex Series) 2017–2019
European Tour (Regular) 1975–2016, 2020–
Pre-European Tour 1927–1953
# Year Winner Score To par Margin of
victory
Runner(s)-up Winner's
share ()
Venue
Dubai Duty Free Irish Open
66th 2021   Lucas Herbert 269 −19 3 strokes   Rikard Karlberg 484,990 Mount Juliet
65th[a] 2020   John Catlin 270 −10 2 strokes   Aaron Rai 208,334 Galgorm Castle
64th 2019   Jon Rahm (2) 264 −16 2 strokes   Andy Sullivan
  Bernd Wiesberger
1,034,478 Lahinch
Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation
63rd 2018   Russell Knox 274 −14 Playoff   Ryan Fox 998,425 Ballyliffin
62nd 2017   Jon Rahm 264 −24 6 strokes   Richie Ramsay
  Matthew Southgate
1,019,362 Portstewart
61st 2016   Rory McIlroy 276 −12 3 strokes   Bradley Dredge
  Russell Knox
666,660 The K Club
60th 2015   Søren Kjeldsen 282 −2 Playoff   Eddie Pepperell
  Bernd Wiesberger
416,660 Royal County Down
The Irish Open
59th 2014   Mikko Ilonen 271 −13 1 stroke   Edoardo Molinari 333,330 Fota Island
58th 2013   Paul Casey 274 −14 3 strokes   Joost Luiten
  Robert Rock
333,330 Carton House
57th 2012   Jamie Donaldson 270 −18 4 strokes   Rafa Cabrera-Bello
  Anthony Wall
  Fabrizio Zanotti
333,330 Royal Portrush
Irish Open presented by Discover Ireland
56th 2011   Simon Dyson 269 −15 1 stroke   Richard Green 250,000 Killarney
3 Irish Open
55th 2010   Ross Fisher 266 −18 2 strokes   Pádraig Harrington 500,000 Killarney
54th 2009   Shane Lowry (a) 271 −17 Playoff   Robert Rock 500,000[b] County Louth
Irish Open
53rd 2008   Richard Finch 278 −10 2 strokes   Felipe Aguilar 416,600 Adare
52nd 2007   Pádraig Harrington 283 −5 Playoff   Bradley Dredge 416,600 Adare
Nissan Irish Open
51st 2006   Thomas Bjørn 283 −5 1 stroke   Paul Casey 366,660 Carton House
50th 2005   Stephen Dodd 279 −9 Playoff   David Howell 333,330 Carton House
49th 2004   Brett Rumford 274 −14 4 strokes   Pádraig Harrington
  Raphaël Jacquelin
316,660 County Louth
48th 2003   Michael Campbell 277 −11 Playoff   Thomas Bjørn
  Peter Hedblom
300,000 Portmarnock
Murphy's Irish Open
47th 2002   Søren Hansen 270 −14 Playoff   Richard Bland
  Niclas Fasth
  Darren Fichardt
266,600 Fota Island
46th 2001   Colin Montgomerie (3) 266 −18 5 strokes   Darren Clarke
  Niclas Fasth
  Pádraig Harrington
266,600 Fota Island
45th 2000   Patrik Sjöland 270 −14 2 strokes   Freddie Jacobson 267,319 Ballybunion
44th 1999   Sergio García 268 −16 3 strokes   Ángel Cabrera 233,320 Druids Glen
43rd 1998   David Carter 278 −6 Playoff   Colin Montgomerie 223,988 Druids Glen
42nd 1997   Colin Montgomerie (2) 269 −15 7 strokes   Lee Westwood 159,090 Druids Glen
41st 1996   Colin Montgomerie 279 −5 1 stroke   Andrew Oldcorn
  Wayne Riley
178,571 Druids Glen
40th 1995   Sam Torrance (2) 277 −11 Playoff   Stuart Cage
  Howard Clark
155,550 Mount Juliet
39th 1994   Bernhard Langer (3) 275 −13 1 stroke   Robert Allenby
  John Daly
138,271 Mount Juliet
Carroll's Irish Open
38th 1993   Nick Faldo (3) 276 −12 Playoff   José María Olazábal 135,282 Mount Juliet
37th 1992   Nick Faldo (2) 274 −14 Playoff   Wayne Westner 106,784 Killarney
36th 1991   Nick Faldo 283 −5 3 strokes   Colin Montgomerie 85,344 Killarney
35th 1990   José María Olazábal 282 −6 3 strokes   Mark Calcavecchia
  Frank Nobilo
81,036 Portmarnock
34th 1989   Ian Woosnam (2) 278 −10 Playoff   Philip Walton 61,296 Portmarnock
33rd 1988   Ian Woosnam 278 −10 7 strokes   Nick Faldo
  José María Olazábal
  Manuel Piñero
  Des Smyth
54,166 Portmarnock
32nd 1987   Bernhard Langer (2) 269 −19 10 strokes   Sandy Lyle 50,174 Portmarnock
31st 1986   Seve Ballesteros (3) 285 −3 2 strokes   Rodger Davis
  Mark McNulty
44,380 Portmarnock
30th 1985   Seve Ballesteros (2) 278 −10 Playoff   Bernhard Langer 28,000 Royal Dublin
29th 1984   Bernhard Langer 267 −21 4 strokes   Mark James 25,662 Royal Dublin
28th 1983   Seve Ballesteros 271 −17 2 strokes   Brian Barnes 25,662 Royal Dublin
27th 1982   John O'Leary 287 −1 1 stroke   Maurice Bembridge 18,742 Portmarnock
26th 1981   Sam Torrance 276 −12 5 strokes   Nick Faldo 18,659 Portmarnock
25th 1980   Mark James (2) 284 −4 1 stroke   Brian Barnes 16,730 Portmarnock
24th 1979   Mark James 282 −6 1 stroke   Ed Sneed 14,000 Portmarnock
23rd 1978   Ken Brown 281 −7 1 stroke   Seve Ballesteros
  John O'Leary
14,000 Portmarnock
22nd 1977   Hubert Green 283 −5 1 stroke   Ben Crenshaw 11,200 Portmarnock
21st 1976   Ben Crenshaw 284 −4 2 strokes   Brian Barnes
  Billy Casper
  Martin Foster
9,800 Portmarnock
20th 1975   Christy O'Connor Jnr 275 −21 1 stroke   Harry Bannerman 7,000 Woodbrook
Irish Open
1954–1974: No tournament
19th 1953   Eric Brown 272 1 stroke   Harry Weetman 700 Belvoir Park
1951–52: No tournament
18th 1950   Ossie Pickworth 287 2 strokes   John Panton
  Norman Von Nida
400 Royal Dublin
17th 1949   Harry Bradshaw (2) 286 1 stroke   Bobby Locke 400 Belvoir Park
16th 1948   Dai Rees 295 2 strokes   Norman Von Nida 400 Portmarnock
15th 1947   Harry Bradshaw 290 2 strokes   Flory Van Donck Royal Portrush
14th 1946   Fred Daly 288 4 strokes   Bobby Locke Portmarnock
1940–1945: No tournament due to World War II
13th 1939   Arthur Lees 287 2 strokes   Reg Whitcombe Royal County Down
12th 1938   Bobby Locke 292 1 stroke   Henry Cotton 150 Portmarnock
11th 1937   Bert Gadd 284 1 stroke   Jimmy Adams Royal Portrush
10th 1936   Reg Whitcombe 281 2 strokes   Bill Davies Royal Dublin
9th 1935   Ernest Whitcombe (2) 292 Playoff   Reg Whitcombe Royal County Down
8th 1934   Syd Easterbrook 284 7 strokes   Joe Brown (a) Portmarnock
7th 1933   Bob Kenyon (2) 286 2 strokes   Alf Padgham Malone Golf Club
6th 1932   Alf Padgham 283 1 stroke   Bill Davies Cork Golf Club
5th 1931   Bob Kenyon 291 2 strokes   Bill Davies
  Bert Hodson
  Abe Mitchell
  Mark Seymour
  Ernest Whitcombe
Royal Dublin
4th 1930   Charles Whitcombe 289 8 strokes   Abe Mitchell Royal Portrush
3rd 1929   Abe Mitchell 309 Playoff   Archie Compston
  Len Holland
Portmarnock
2nd 1928   Ernest Whitcombe 288 4 strokes   Archie Compston 150 Royal County Down
1st 1927   George Duncan 312 1 stroke   Henry Cotton 150 Portmarnock
  1. ^ The 2020 tournament was originally scheduled as a Rolex Series event but was downgraded as a result of rescheduling with a reduced prize fund due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. ^ As Lowry was an amateur, he received no prize money. The winner's share was awarded to leading professional, Robert Rock.

Sources:[35][36][26][25][24][23][22][21][20][19][18][17][13][14][12][11][10][9][8][6][7][5][37]

Multiple winnersEdit

Name Wins Years
  Colin Montgomerie 3 1996, 1997, 2001
  Bernhard Langer 3 1984, 1987, 1994
  Nick Faldo 3 1991, 1992, 1993
  Seve Ballesteros 3 1983, 1985, 1986
  Jon Rahm 2 2017, 2019
  Sam Torrance 2 1981, 1995
  Ian Woosnam 2 1988, 1989
  Mark James 2 1979, 1980
  Harry Bradshaw 2 1947, 1949
  Ernest Whitcombe 2 1928, 1935
  Bob Kenyon 2 1931, 1933

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Cailleadh galfaire aitheanta na hÉireann, Christy O'Connor Jnr. sa Spáinn aréir". Raidió Teilifís Éireann (in Irish). 6 January 2016.
  2. ^ "Golf - The Irish Open Championship". The Times. 17 August 1927. p. 5.
  3. ^ "Golf - The Irish Open Championship". The Times. 18 August 1927. p. 5.
  4. ^ "The Irish Open Championship - G Duncan the first holder". The Times. 19 August 1927. p. 6.
  5. ^ a b "Irish Open Golf Championship". The Glasgow Herald. 1 June 1928. p. 7.
  6. ^ a b "Irish "Open" Title". The Glasgow Herald. 12 July 1929. p. 3.
  7. ^ a b "Mitchell Wins his First Championship". The Glasgow Herald. 13 July 1929. p. 2.
  8. ^ a b "Irish Open Title". The Glasgow Herald. 7 June 1930. p. 14.
  9. ^ a b "Unknown Wins". The Glasgow Herald. 28 August 1931. p. 10.
  10. ^ a b "Padgham's Fine Victory". The Glasgow Herald. 26 August 1932. p. 3.
  11. ^ a b "Kenyon Again Wins Irish Open Championship". The Glasgow Herald. 29 July 1933. p. 17.
  12. ^ a b "Success of Syd Easterbrook". The Glasgow Herald. 20 July 1934. p. 7.
  13. ^ a b "Brothers Tie for Title". The Glasgow Herald. 26 July 1935. p. 3.
  14. ^ a b "Replayed Golf Final". The Glasgow Herald. 27 July 1935. p. 4.
  15. ^ "International at Cork". The Glasgow Herald. 23 August 1932. p. 3.
  16. ^ "England beat Ireland". The Glasgow Herald. 26 July 1933. p. 6.
  17. ^ a b "Record Round in Irish "Open"". The Glasgow Herald. 17 July 1936. p. 19.
  18. ^ a b "Gadd's Winning Round". The Glasgow Herald. 30 July 1937. p. 6.
  19. ^ a b "Locke Comes From Behind To Win Irish "Open"". The Glasgow Herald. 22 July 1938. p. 4.
  20. ^ a b "Arthur Lees Wins His First Big Tournament". The Glasgow Herald. 21 July 1939. p. 19.
  21. ^ a b "Daly Wins Irish Golf Title". The Glasgow Herald. 19 July 1946. p. 7.
  22. ^ a b "Bradshaw Wins Irish Open Golf Title". The Glasgow Herald. 11 July 1947. p. 6.
  23. ^ a b "Rees Gains First National Title". The Glasgow Herald. 10 July 1948. p. 6.
  24. ^ a b "Bradshaw Wins Irish Open Title". The Glasgow Herald. 30 July 1949. p. 2.
  25. ^ a b "Pickworth Wins Irish "Open"". The Glasgow Herald. 15 July 1950. p. 2.
  26. ^ a b "Irish Title for Brown". The Glasgow Herald. 1 August 1953. p. 2.
  27. ^ "Boost for Irish golf". Drogheda Independent. Drogheda, Leinster, Republic of Ireland. 7 February 1969. p. 20. Retrieved 2 June 2020 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  28. ^ "Sponsors withdraw". Drogheda Independent. Drogheda, Leinster, Republic of Ireland. 7 November 1969. p. 19. Retrieved 2 June 2020 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  29. ^ "Irish Open to be staged again". Glasgow Herald. Glasgow, Scotland. 29 September 1969. p. 23. Retrieved 2 June 2020 – via Google News Archive.
  30. ^ "Irish Open 1975". Irish Golf Desk. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  31. ^ "Irish Open prize money increased". BBC Sport. 4 March 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2009.
  32. ^ "Purse is down but Rory will be there". Irish Times. 29 June 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  33. ^ "Dubai Duty Free extends Irish Open sponsorship until 2018". PGA European Tour. 12 October 2015.
  34. ^ "The Irish Open prize money will increase to €5 million from 2022". the42. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  35. ^ "Irish Open: Tournament History". European Tour. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  36. ^ "The Irish Open". Irish Golf Desk. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  37. ^ "Irish Open". The Glasgow Herald. 19 August 1927. p. 11.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 55°17′33″N 7°22′23″W / 55.2924°N 7.3731°W / 55.2924; -7.3731