The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation will visit one of Ireland’s most iconic links courses in 2018 when Ballyliffin Golf Club plays host to the championship for the first time.
The announcement marks a new chapter in the history of the tournament as it makes its first venture to the North West of the country, continuing a legacy which has seen it contested at many of the finest courses across the island of Ireland since it was first played in 1927.
With the tournament also a part of the European Tour’s new Rolex Series initiative, the fabled County Donegal venue will also play host to some of the world’s greatest players from July 5-8, 2018.
Keith Pelley, the Chief Executive of the European Tour, speaking during the final day of this year’s tournament at Portstewart, said: “I am delighted to announce that the 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation will be played at Ballyliffin Golf Club next July.
“It 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 by the support of our own Rory McIlroy and his Foundation as hosts.
“The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open has also been elevated due to its inclusion as part of our new Rolex Series, a transformational development for the European Tour which is now in full swing. The Rolex Series has many positives but one of the most important in terms of playing experience is the quality of the golf course.
“In terms of links golf, we are truly blessed on that score in Ireland as we have seen this week in Portstewart, and I am delighted that another gem in the shape of Ballyliffin has been lined up for our members next year.”
Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, said: “We are delighted that Ballyliffin Golf Club in Inishowen, Co Donegal has been chosen to be the venue for next year’s tournament.
“The setting is spectacular, it is home to two of Ireland’s best links courses and we know that the international visitors who will come to Donegal will really enjoy the scenery and the dramatic landscape.
“Next year will be our fourth year as title sponsor of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation, we very much enjoy working with our partners in the European Tour and indeed Rory McIlroy himself who has been a marvellous host for the last number of years. We have had an incredible week this week at Portstewart and are looking forward to next year at Ballyliffin.”
Barry Funston, Chief Executive of the Rory Foundation, said: “The Rory Foundation is delighted to host the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open for a fourth year, taking place next year at Ballyliffin Golf Club in Co Donegal.
“It is great to be involved with the tournament and we’re slowly moving around the country, taking it to all corners. The tournament enables us to continue to build on our platform for positive change, reaching into the community and developing innovative initiatives to help children and young people in most need and we would like to continue doing so.”
Shane Ross TD, Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, said: “The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open has cemented itself as one of the most prestigious events on the European Tour, attracting the world’s top golfers to Ireland.
“Such is the tournament’s appeal that it draws spectators from all over the world, providing a valuable boost to the local economy and showcasing Ireland as premier golfing destination.
“I am pleased that the Government will again provide financial support for the tournament through Sport Ireland which will allow some of our emerging golfing talent the opportunity to compete at the highest level.
“Such investment is vital to sustain our excellent track record in producing golfing talent and maintain a strong presence on international tours. I would like to pay tribute to Dubai Duty Free, the Rory Foundation and the European Tour for their continued support for this tournament and I look forward to the 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin.”
John Treacy, Chief Executive of Sport Ireland: “I am delighted that the Government is again supporting the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open for 2018. The financial support for the tournament is provided through Sport Ireland and is part of our overall support for the game which, along with the successful Team Ireland Golf initiative, aims to assist Ireland’s top amateur golfers’ transition into the professional game.
“This support will enable Ireland’s up-and-coming golfers compete with the best in the world on home soil in front of capacity crowds which will be invaluable for their development.”
John Farren, General Manager at Ballyliffin Golf Club, said: “Ballyliffin is delighted to have been selected as the host venue for the 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation, especially now that it is part of the Rolex Series.
“This is an incredible vote of confidence by the European Tour and their partners and will be a huge opportunity for us to showcase Ballyliffin, Donegal and Derry on the world stage.
“We look forward to working with Fáilte Ireland and agencies on both sides of the border in promoting the region. Ballyliffin’s close neighbours and destination partners –Royal Portrush and Portstewart – have both hosted tremendously successful Irish Opens and we look forward with confidence to continuing that focus on the world class links of the North Coast of Ireland.
“At 7,423 yards, our Championship Links has staged many top class amateur and professional events in the past and hosting the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in 2018 fulfils a long term ambition of Ballyliffin Golf Club to take our place on the world stage. We look forward to welcoming the European Tour and their partners to Ballyliffin in July 2018 and can assure you we will deliver an exceptional tournament.”
A regular championship venue, Ballyliffin Golf Club played host to the North West of Ireland Open in 2002, a dual-ranking event on the European Tour and Challenge Tour which was won by Sweden’s Adam Mednick. The European Senior Tour also visited in 2008 when Spain’s Juan Quirós pipped local hero Des Smyth to the Irish Seniors Open title by a single shot.
Ballyliffin Golf Club consists of two contrasting links courses, the Glashedy Links and the Old Course. The Glashedy Links – where the 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will be played – opened in 1995 and was designed by Pat Ruddy and Tom Craddock.
Traversing through a towering natural dune system and intertwined with the Old Course, the Glashedy Links features large undulating greens and strategic bunkering which is sure to challenge the European Tour’s finest.
Tickets for the 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin Golf Club are now on sale. To take advantage of a full range of Early Bird Ticket Prices, please visit: et.golf/DDFIO18Tickets