The European Tour has announced the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will return to Northern Ireland for the fourth time since 2012 when the Galgorm Castle Golf Club hosts this year’s tournament.
It will be the first time the County Antrim venue has hosted Ireland’s national Open with the event moving into the date vacated by the rescheduling of the 2020 Ryder Cup to 2021, September 24-27.
The 2020 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open was originally scheduled to take place at Mount Juliet Estate in County Kilkenny from May 28-31, but was postponed on March 30 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
With quarantine restrictions for travellers into the Republic of Ireland ongoing and the ban on mass gatherings still in place, the European Tour made the decision to move the tournament to Northern Ireland.
That means the event will be subject to similar guidelines to the current ‘UK Swing’ events, including being played behind closed doors. Planning remains on-going for the tournament to return to Mount Juliet in 2021 providing all health guidelines in place at that time can be met.
“The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is an integral part of the European Tour’s schedule and despite the obvious challenges of staging any event in the current circumstances, we felt it was important to continue with the tournament providing we could do so safely,” said Keith Pelley, European Tour chief executive.
“We did that, first and foremost with the support of Colm McLoughlin and everyone involved with our title sponsor Dubai Duty Free who once again showed commitment and understanding of the current global situation, and proved what a wonderful partner of the European Tour they are.”
Following the changes to the date and the venue, allied to the overall disruption to the schedule, the 2020 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will have a prize fund of €1.25 million and therefore will not be part of the Rolex Series.
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Gary Henry, managing director of Galgorm Castle, said: “We are delighted to be the host venue for the 2020 Irish Open. This outstanding tournament is steeped in history and we look forward to welcoming some of the best players in the world to Galgorm Castle Golf Club.
“To host the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is an historic moment and wonderful opportunity to showcase the world-class facilities at Galgorm and demonstrates that Northern Ireland is open for business.”
Galgorm Castle Golf Club has hosted the Northern Ireland Open on the European Challenge Tour since 2013, including last year’s innovative tournament – the ISPS Handa World Invitational Men|Women which featured both a men’s and women’s competition.