Posts Tagged ‘Rory Foundation’

Kilpatrick to realise Irish Open ambition at Portstewart

June 28, 2017

Richard Kilpatrick

Banbridge professional, Richard Kilpatrick, will realise a long-held ambition when he plays in next week’s DDF Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation.
Richard earned his place in the Irish Open field by finishing sixth in the PGA in Ireland 2016 Order of Merit.
He will be joined at Portstewart by Damien McGrane, David Higgins, Colm Moriarty, Neil O’Briain and Simon Thornton
“I can’t wait. The crowds, the buzz, the field that is being assembled. I can’t wait to tee it up, let it go and see what happens. It will be some test,” said the Banbridge GC assistant.
“I had the chance to play in the Irish Open as an amateur but it often clashed with the Brabazon Trophy and the GUI would send us over to England to compete in that instead.
“It means a lot to get to play in my first Irish Open up here (Northern Ireland) and at Portstewart as well. My aunt has a place in the town and I played the course a lot as an amateur.
“Even now, during the winter and when I can in the summer months I try to get up and play. The club professional, Neil Graham, has been very good in accommodating me.”
Richard turned professional in 2007 after winning the East of Ireland Championship and helping Ireland collect the European Team Championship title.
He spent the best part of eight years playing on the Challenge Tour, Alps Tour and EuroPro Tour before opting to follow the PGA route.
He has performed impressively on the PGA in Ireland circuit in recent seasons and has two wins to his name in 2017 at the PGA Irish Club Pro-Am and the Ruddy Cup for Young Professionals.
And whilst he may be inexperienced in terms of playing at the highest level, he may have pulled off a masterstroke when is comes to hiring a caddy for the week.
Former college team mate and major winning LPGA caddy, David Jones, will lug Richard’s bag around Portstewart during tournament week.
Jones, who was formerly the PGA professional at Bushfoot GC, also happens to be a member at Portstewart GC and has cleared his schedule to caddy for Richard in the Irish Open.
“I’ve known Davy for years. I was starting my first year of college in America at the University of Toledo just as he was finishing his studies there. He was the groomsman at my wedding last December ” added Richard.

“The thing for me will be getting used to the atmosphere, to the grandstands and the corporate boxes. I’ve played a few rounds up there recently trying to familiarise myself with the place and how it will look during tournament week.”

That’s not something Damien McGrane will have to worry about. The Kells man has been there, done it and bought the t-shirt. McGrane topped the Order of Merit last year and also won the Irish PGA Championship. He is leading the way again in 2017 and if his competitive instincts take over he is capable of making an impact at Portstewart.
You can put Simon Thornton into the same bracket. A winner on the European Tour in 2013 (Najeti Hotels et Golfs Open), Simon is still returning to full fitness following surgery to his feet at the start of the year.
“I think I’ve only missed one [Irish Open] in recent years. It is a great event and you get used to playing in them but this will be a bit different now that’s it’s part of the Rolex Series,” said the 40-year-old.
“For us, as PGA guys, you have to try and blank all that out. You can’t really start thinking about the money that is on offer. You have to focus on those first two rounds and if you can make the cut great, then try and do as well as you can.”

A longer version of this article appeared in the July edition of Irish Golfer Magazine

McIlroy waits until weekend to make decision on BMW PGA Championship

May 18, 2017

Rory McIlroy won the BMW PGA Championship in 2014

Rory McIlroy will not make a decision about playing in next week’s BMW PGA Championship until early next week.
The world number two aggravated a rib injury at The Players Championship and had an MRI scan on Monday to check the extent of the damage.
“It’s just a matter of taking a bit of time to recover and rest,” said Rory speaking by phone at a DDF Irish Open preview event at Portstewart GC.
“Hopefully I will start hitting wedges by the weekend then I will be in a position to play Wentworth next week. I will only make that decision after I start hitting balls again at the weekend. Fingers crossed that I will be there but we have to wait and see at the minute.”
McIlroy confirmed that one of world golf’s most exciting young talents, John Rahm, will play in this year’s Irish Open.
The world number 12 will join defending champion McIlroy, Justin Rose and a host of the world’s top golfers at Portstewart, from July 6-9, in what will be the third of eight world class events as part of the European Tour’s new Rolex Series.
“He has already proved that he can go a long way in the game,” said Rory about the Spaniard.

“He is so young, very talented, hits the ball a mile, he is not afraid of anyone and believes in himself. He has all the attributes to be a major winner.”

Jon Rahm

Rahm has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past 12 months, bursting onto the professional scene with six top 25 finishes in nine starts on the PGA Tour last season before his breakthrough win in the Farmers Insurance Open in January.
He became a European Tour member at the start of March after breaking into the world’s top 50, and finished tied third on his first start in the WGC-Mexico Championship before reaching the final of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, where he took World Number One Dustin Johnson to last hole.
“I have some great memories as a kid watching the Spanish players competing in the big European Tour events on TV and it will be special to be able to now play in them myself,” said the 22-year-old.
“Obviously Seve, José Maria and Sergio have all won the Irish Open over the years, so it will be great to try and follow in their footsteps at Portstewart. Also, I’m really pleased to support Rory and everything he is trying to do for the event through his Foundation.
“The Rolex Series is a fantastic idea on the European Tour and I’m looking forward to being a part of it. I’m also looking forward to playing a different style of golf on the links of Portstewart which will be valuable preparation for The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale as well.”

Olympic champion Justin Rose set for Irish Open

April 25, 2017


Olympic Champion Justin Rose has added his name to the list of world-class stars lining up to play in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Portstewart Golf Club from July 6-9.
The Englishman will be playing in Northern Ireland for the first time in his professional career. His last Irish Open appearance was back in 2010 at Killarney when Ross Fisher claimed the title.
The 36-year-old finished tied for 44th in Co Kerry but has since become a Major Champion – winning the 2013 US Open – as well as securing Olympic Gold at the Rio 2016 Games.
The nine-time European Tour winner came agonisingly close to a second Major title at the recent Masters Tournament, losing out to Sergio Garcia in a play-off at Augusta National.

That impressive performance came on the back of a solid opening five months of the season that included a second place finish at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Tickets to watch Rose attempt to dethrone the reigning champion and home hero Rory McIlroy can be purchased at http://www.dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com
“I haven’t played the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open for a while so I’m excited about going back,” said Rose, currently ranked eighth in the world.
“With Rory’s involvement the last couple of years the event has gone from strength to strength and being part of the Rolex Series will give it an even bigger boost.
“Irish fans are always a lot of fun to play in front of, it’s always good ‘craic’ out there! We’ll all enjoy the tournament and it’s obviously great preparation for The Open Championship too.
“I think it’s very good to get some links golf under your belt before The Open. Playing the Scottish Open the week before is a great idea and also playing two weeks before is great because you can have a week before to fine tune.

“The fact that we have these options running into The Open is fantastic and they are top quality events which will hopefully attract not just the top European players, but maybe some players from across the pond in the USA as well.”

Tickets for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation are on sale at http://www.dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com, and begin at £20 for Pro-Am Wednesday, with tickets for Thursday and Friday costing £40 and day tickets for the weekend costing £45.
An adult season souvenir ticket, which covers five days of world class golf from Wednesday to Sunday, costs just £100 (a saving of £90 over the course of the five days).
Concessions are available for customers aged over 60 and between 16 and 21, while children under 16 are permitted free entry when accompanied by a ticket holding adult.
To get a full seated view of all of the drama at the 18th green, grandstand tickets cost an additional £11.50 for Thursday and Friday, £16.50 for Saturday and £21.50 for Sunday.
Official Hospitality packages are also available on the ticketing page, or alternatively contact the European Tour’s dedicated Hospitality Sales Team, who will be happy to answer any queries and discuss the various hospitality options, on enquiries@europeantourhospitality.com or +44 (0) 1344 840681.

Tourism NI launches Belfast International Parkland Tournament

February 22, 2017
Eimear Callaghan, Tourism NI Golf and Sales Marketing Manager joins Jim Cullen, Belvoir Park Golf Club, Paddy Deane, Malone Golf Club, Greg Bailie, Shandon Park Golf Club, and Colin Adair Royal Belfast Golf Club at the launch of the inaugural Belfast International Parkland Tournament 2017.

Eimear Callaghan, Tourism NI Golf and Sales Marketing Manager joins Jim Cullen, Belvoir Park Golf Club, Paddy Deane, Malone Golf Club, Greg Bailie, Shandon Park Golf Club, and Colin Adair Royal Belfast Golf Club at the launch of the inaugural Belfast International Parkland Tournament 2017.

Tourism NI has launched the Belfast International Parkland Tournament 2017, furthering the long-term Northern Ireland Made for Golf strategy, which aims to make golf tourism worth £50 million to the Northern Ireland economy by 2020.

A greater Belfast golf cluster group comprising of Malone Golf Club, Shandon Park Golf Club, Belvoir Golf Club and Holywood Golf Club joined forces to create the Belfast Parkland International tournament to celebrate three days of golf in Belfast, in what is sure to be a momentous week for golf in Northern Ireland.

The competition will showcase three prestigious golf clubs in the Belfast area and offer golfers the opportunity to play three parkland courses from 3– 5 July, including Malone Golf Club, Royal Belfast Golf Club and Shandon Park Golf Club with the opportunity for entrants to also gain reduced fees at Holywood and Belvoir Park golf clubs. Later that week the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation will take place 6-9 July at Portstewart Golf Club.

Eimear Callaghan, Tourism NI Golf and Sales Marketing Manager commented, “With the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open coming to Portstewart this year and The Open Championship to Royal Portrush in 2019, Northern Ireland is now a must see destination for golfers with world class courses.”

“The Belfast International Parkland Tournament gives us the opportunity to promote the quality of our Parkland golf and indeed further enhance our reputation as a premier golf and tourism destination.”

Both male and females can enter the tournament with prices starting at £99 per person, with the first 50 people to enter receiving a free individual green fee at one of the participating courses.
Entries are now open via www.BelfastParklandInternational.com
For more information, please visit http://www.discovernorthernireland.com/Belfast-Parkland-International-Golf-Tournament-Dunmurry-Belfast-P59966

The Belfast Parkland International is just one of the many excellent amateur golf tournaments happening in Northern Ireland this year. Among the line-up is the Causeway Coast Amateur Golf Tournament in June celebrating its 50 anniversary and The Great North Links Challenge in October.

Portstewart to host Irish Open in 2017 as part of links swing before Open Championship

July 27, 2016
Rory McIlroy with Colm McLoughlin, the Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, after winning the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at The K Club

Rory McIlroy with Colm McLoughlin, the Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, after winning the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at The K Club

Portstewart Golf Club will host the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open next year, launching a three-week spell of links golf culminating in the Open Championship.
The Irish Open was held at the K Club in May this year and won by tournament host Rory McIlroy, but in 2017 it will move to July 6-9, immediately preceding the Scottish Open at Dundonald and the Open at Royal Birkdale.
The move to Portstewart had been widely touted and followed the European Tour’s decision in April to take the event away from the Lough Erne Resort, but the change of date is a significant boost for the tournament which will be supported once again by the Rory Foundation.
“We’ve been working hard with The European Tour over the last couple years to try and find suitable venues and a suitable date for The Irish Open,” said Rory during Tuesday’s press conference ahead of the US PGA Championship at Baltusrol.
“We sort of knew a long time ago that Portstewart was going to be probably where we were going to go play it in 2017. To get that date right before the Scottish is huge.

“To play a round of links golf leading into the Open, hopefully we can attract some marquis names to come over and play. With it being at the start of July, hopefully, fingers crossed, we can get some decent weather.

“I think it can only be good for the event. I’m really excited for it. I’m excited that The European Tour have worked with us and helped us getting that date and getting suitable venues going forward. I’m excited for Portstewart next year.”
It is the third time the tournament will be played in Northern Ireland after previous outings at Royal County Down (2014) and Royal Portrush (2012)
McIlroy added; “Portstewart is an excellent links course and one of Northern Ireland’s hidden gems, so it’s great news that we are taking the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open there next year.
“Winning at the K Club earlier this year was without doubt one of the highlights of my career, and I’m already looking forward to defending my title at Portstewart next July.
“The crowds at Portrush and Royal County Down were unbelievable and I’m sure the people of Northern Ireland will come out to support the tournament again next year.”
The Scottish Open is guaranteed its coveted place in the calendar up to and including 2020, although the Irish Open is keen for that to change.
Speaking earlier this month, Martin Gilbert – chief executive of Scottish Open sponsor Aberdeen Asset Management – said: “I keep telling them they should switch the Irish and the French Open, and then you have the Irish, Scottish then the British. That would be the much more logical arrangement.”

Have a look at what the players will face next year

Founded in 1894 and long considered one of the country’s finest links courses, Portstewart will be staging a European Tour event for the first time when tournament host Rory McIlroy defends his title there next summer.
Portstewart features three 18-hole layouts, with the Des Giffin-designed Strand Course – which will host the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open – considered the jewel in the crown.
The Strand Course has hosted numerous amateur tournaments including the 2014 Amateur Championship, which was won by Bradley Neil and just this month, staged two rounds of qualifying for the North of Ireland Amateur Championship.
Michael Moss, General Manager of Portstewart Golf Club, said: “We are delighted to team up with The European Tour to host the 2017 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
“The Club will embrace the challenge, and we have no doubt that the Strand Course will provide nothing less than a worthy test of golf.”
For more information about tickets and corporate hospitality visit http://www.dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com.

“I’m almost prouder of what we’ve achieved this week off the golf course than on it,” insists Rory after Irish open success

May 23, 2016
Rory McIlroy with the Irish Open trophy

Rory McIlroy with the Irish Open trophy

They may have been tears of relief, they may have been tears of joy but either way it was clear that winning the Irish Open meant a great deal to Rory McIlroy.
“I had a little bit of time on the 18th green when Russell [Knox] and Danny [Willett] were finishing out, and I was trying to hold back the tears then,” said the 27-year-old.
“You know, golf-wise this week, it’s obviously very important to me but we’ve put a lot of work into this tournament and into the [Rory] Foundation, and we are going to help a lot of people from this week.
“I mean, we’ve already raised over half a million Euros going into today for the three chosen charities, and then all the winnings go towards that, as well. We’ve broken the million Euro mark this week, which is absolutely incredible.

“I don’t usually get emotional about golf or about wins, but this one, it means just a little bit more, because it’s not just for myself. It’s for a lot of other people.”

Three Dublin based charities – Barrettstown, Jack & Jill Foundation and the LaraLynn Children’s Hospice will benefit directly from the money raised this week which has been boosted by Rory’s winnings.

Rory added; “When we started the Rory Foundation, this wasn’t some plan that we had from the start. It was more me thinking, how can I, or as a team, how can I go to The Irish Open and it mean something more.
“I wanted a real, fulfilling reason to go back every year and give it my all.
“The night that I did with Alex Ferguson on Tuesday night raised a hundred grand. I got a couple of big donations at the start of the week. The prize money, the percentage from the ticket sales is going to the Foundation.
“I’m here for other causes, and that gives me more fulfilment than hitting those golf shots on 16 and 18.
“They are great, and in golfing terms, it’s fantastic but I’m almost prouder of what we’ve achieved this week off the golf course than on it.”

Lough Erne misses out on Irish Open amid claims Euro Tour is now pursuing ‘links strategy’

April 12, 2016
The 10th at Lough Erne

The 10th at Lough Erne

There is a great sense of frustration in the statement released by the owners of the Lough Erne Resort following the European Tour’s announcement that the Co Fermanagh venue would not be hosting the Irish Open in 2017.
Tourism NI officials were informed at the weekend of the European Tour’s decision and Monday’s official confirmation only served to rubber-stamp what was already a widely held belief.

Read this report from earlier in the year.
http://www.newsletter.co.uk/sport/golf-news/lough-erne-resort-insist-plans-are-in-place-to-host-irish-open-2017-1-7189096

EUROPEAN TOUR STATEMENT
The European Tour can today confirm that the 2017 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation will not take place at the Lough Erne Resort.
European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley said: “During a recent visit to the Lough Erne Resort, I was delighted to meet with the owners and to learn more about their significant investment plans for the golf course and hotel. It is a beautiful facility with an outstanding championship golf course designed by Sir Nick Faldo.
While the 2017 Irish Open will not be staged at Lough Erne, the European Tour looks forward to working with the new ownership consortium, and I am confident that the Lough Erne Resort will host an event with the European Tour in the future.
“Details of the 2017 venue will be announced in due course, but in the meantime we are solely focused on ensuring that the 2016 tournament, which will be staged at The K Club in County Kildare in six weeks’ time, is a great success.”

It looks like there is a promise of an event of some type in the future but that will be of little consolation for everyone at Lough Erne and in Fermanagh as a whole.
The Irish Open is big business and usually provides a major boost to the local economy. It appears that Portstewart GC will reap the rewards, particularly as according to the Lough Erne statement the European Tour is now pursuing a ‘traditional links course strategy’.

LOUGH ERNE RESORT STATEMENT
“We are extremely disappointed that the European Tour has announced a change in its decision to hold the 2017 Irish Open Championship at Lough Erne Resort. From the day we acquired the Resort, we have been excited and committed to hosting the event, and we have never waivered from that commitment.
We have in fact continued to make additional investments in the course and the Resort facilities, both of which are in superior condition to when the 2014 announcement was made.
But, over the last several months, senior tour officials began telling us that European Tour management was considering a ‘traditional links course strategy’ for future Irish Opens, and because of that new strategy there had been indications that the 2017 date at Lough Erne might be in jeopardy.
From the beginning of those conversations, we have remained steadfast in our position not to accept this change from the Tour, and we have spent the last few months trying to work with Tour officials at the highest level to persuade them to keep their commitment to Lough Erne Resort and the region.
However, despite our willingness to work with the Tour in every way to convince them to maintain their commitment, they have made the decision to change the venue to a traditional links course in 2017 and at this point we have no choice but to accept it. We are disappointed not only for the Resort, but also for our staff and the good people of County Fermanagh.
We have to accept the decision that the Tour has made, with its strategic commitment to links golf in the Irish Open for the near future, and we do welcome the decision to keep the Open in Northern Ireland next year.
If and when that strategy changes, Lough Erne Resort looks forward to being first in line to host the next Irish Open that is not on a links course.
We would like to thank all of those that worked so hard on initially obtaining this event for Lough Erne Resort. We would especially like to thank officials of the Northern Ireland Government for their unwavering support for Lough Erne Resort and for doing everything possible to avoid this outcome.
While we are clearly disappointed with the European Tour’s decision, the Resort’s ownership group remains committed to working with Tour officials towards bringing a future Irish Open or an equivalent event to Lough Erne Resort.”

A ‘links strategy’ has long been mooted for the Irish Open but to my mind, this is the first time it has been referred to as tour policy. It will be interesting to see if Tour officially confirm that they only want to take the Irish Open to links venues in the future. If that’s the case, the likes of Mount Juliet and the soon to be refurbished Adare Manor Resort might be reconsidering their own ambitions.
On a more positive note the Lough Erne statement reveals that the Irish Open will return to Northern Ireland in 2017 although, once again, that has clearly not been confirmed by the European Tour.
If the Tour is following a links strategy, then by a process of elimination, Portstewart will be the host venue given that Royal Portrush is currently being redeveloped for The Open and Royal County Down is highly unlikely to take it back so soon after the staging in 2015.
None of this will be going down well amongst the corridors of power at the NI Executive who made a significant commitment to the European Tour in 2014 when the Lough Erne announcement was first made.
If the tour is working on a links course strategy then it flies in the face of the government’s strategic plans to grow the value of the golf tourism business in Northern Ireland. Could that jeopardise any further financial and logistical investment from the Stormont Executive in the Irish Open??
For background on the NI Golf tourism strategy read – The Irish Open, Lough Erne and the government’s £50million tourism strategy

A spokesperson for Tourism NI said; “Together with the NI Executive, Tourism NI has been working towards staging the tournament at Lough Erne Resort, as announced by the European Tour in April 2014.
“We are therefore extremely disappointed at today’s decision by the European Tour not to stage the Irish Open at Lough Erne in 2017, which was formally communicated to us over the weekend.
“We have requested an urgent meeting with the European Tour to discuss options open to the Executive following the announcement, and where this decision leaves plans for the return of the Irish Open to Northern Ireland which is a matter of contractual agreement.
“We welcome the European Tour’s commitment to Lough Erne in the future and expect these plans to be forthcoming as a matter of urgency.”

Ulster juniors primed for Irish Open Skills battle

April 1, 2016
Dubai Duty Free Ambassador Des Smyth, Pat Finn from the Golfing Union of Ireland and Antonia Beggs from The European Tour help 14 year old Pat Taafe and 12 year old Pia McElligott practice their skills for the forthcoming regional finals of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Skills Challenge.

Dubai Duty Free Ambassador Des Smyth, Pat Finn from the Golfing Union of Ireland and Antonia Beggs from The European Tour help 14 year old Pat Taafe and 12 year old Pia McElligott practice their skills for the forthcoming regional finals of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Skills Challenge.

Junior golfers across Ulster are practicing their skills for the forthcoming regional finals of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Skills Challenge.
The Ulster qualifier will take place at the CAFRE Greenmount Campus in County Antrim on Saturday (April 2) with 23 boys teams and 13 girls teams competing for a place in the Grand Final.
Up for grabs is the chance to win a unique ‘meet and greet’ opportunity with a top player at this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Pro-Am, where they will also be able to watch the players practice their own considerable skills.
The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Golf Skills Challenge is part of Rory McIlroy’s ‘five point plan’ http://bit.ly/1VA6JvB to help make this year’s Irish Open, which is hosted by his own charitable Rory Foundation, one of the best ever.
Run by The European Tour and the Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI), the competition is designed to help young golfers under the age of 15, develop their Putting, Chipping, Iron Play and Driving skills as part of a four-person team.
“This competition is a really great opportunity for our young golfers to focus on the key skills of the game in a fun team environment, and we are delighted that so many teams from across Ulster have entered,” said John Roche, Director of Golf and Business Development, Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI).
“The role of the CGI is to help advance the sport of golf throughout the island of Ireland and a key element of this is to foster a love of the sport among the next generation. This initiative is a really great way to show younger players what a fantastic sport golf is and to get them excited about the game. The level of interest in the competition is very heartening and really bodes well for the future of golf in Ireland.”
Other provincial finals will take place at Ballykisteen Golf Club (Munster) on April 16, Galway Bay Golf Club (Connacht) on April 16 and the Heritage Golf Club (Leinster) on April 17, with the National Final taking place at the GUI National Golf Academy at Carton House in Maynooth, County Kildare on Sunday April 24.
Boys teams must have a minimum combined handicap of 64 while the Girls teams must have a minimum combined handicap of 80.
Last year’s winners in Ulster were the girls team from Royal County Down Ladies Club and the boys from Tandragee Golf Club in Co Armagh. The National Final winners were the girls team from Shannon Golf Club in County Clare, and the boys team from Faithlegg Golf Club in County Waterford.

Boys: Greenacres Golf Club, Galgorm Castle Golf Club, Lurgan Golf Club, Spa Golf Club, Ballycastle Golf Club, Silverwood Golf Club, Bangor Golf Club, Tandragee Golf Club, Omagh Golf Club, Donaghadee Golf Club, Holywood Golf Club, Ballyclare Golf Club, Royal Portrush Golf Club, Castlerock Golf Club, Helen’s Bay Golf Club, Clandeboye Golf Club, Carrickfergus Golf Club, Warrenpoint Golf Club, Loughgall Golf Club, Rockmount Golf Club, Antrim Golf Club
Girls: Lurgan Golf Club, Spa Golf Club, Bangor Golf Club, Tandragee Golf Club, Omagh Golf Club, Donaghadee Golf Club, Holywood Golf Club, Royal Portrush Golf Club, Helen’s Bay Golf Club, Clandeboye Golf Club, Moyola Park Golf Club, Antrim Golf Club, Malone Golf Club
Copy supplied by Duffy Rafferty Communications

Irish Open Schools Trophy tour is back for 2016

March 8, 2016
The children of Straffan National School joined (l-r) Brian McIlroy of the Rory Foundation, Antonia Beggs from The European Tour, Dubai Duty Free Golf Ambassador Des Smyth and Tom Walsh of Waterford Crystal to launch the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Trophy Tour 2016.

The children of Straffan National School joined (l-r) Brian McIlroy of the Rory Foundation, Antonia Beggs from The European Tour, Dubai Duty Free Golf Ambassador Des Smyth and Tom Walsh of Waterford Crystal to launch the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Trophy Tour 2016.

FOLLOWING the huge success of last year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Trophy Tour, pupils across Northern Ireland are once again being invited to create history for their school as part of a nationwide competition organised by The European Tour and the Rory Foundation.
Supported by the Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI), the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Trophy Tour competition will give four lucky pupils across Ireland a chance to host a visit from the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Trophy which is currently in the possession of defending champion Søren Kjeldsen.
To enter the competition, children between the ages of 9-15 are being invited to tell The European Tour why their class or school deserves a visit from the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Trophy.
Not only will the winning pupils have a chance to get their hands on the prestigious trophy, they will also receive a host of other unique ‘money can’t buy’ prizes for themselves and their schoolmates.
These include a Q&A session with representatives of The European Tour and Rory Foundation and an insight into the life of a professional golfer from Ireland’s Dubai Duty Free golf ambassador Des Smyth, an eight-time winner on the European Tour who played in two Ryder Cups in 1979 and 1981 and was a vice-captain of Europe’s victorious 2006 and 2014 Ryder Cup teams.
Each winning pupil’s class will also receive tickets to go to the Pro-Am event on Wednesday May 18 while the overall winning pupil will receive family tickets for the Pro-Am and a VIP tour with a chance to meet some of the world’s top golfers.
And if that isn’t enough, the four winning schools will also enjoy a fun introduction to golf through the CGI’s ‘Golf Awareness Clinic’ which will give children a fun introduction to the sport through a variety of golf-related games including putting games and hitting real golf balls into a blow up net, and virtual golf on the Wii console.

To enter, schoolchildren aged 9-15 should simply send an email to trophytour@irishopen.ie outlining in no more than 250 words why their class or school deserves to win this unique prize – clearly stating their name, age, address and school. Closing date for entries is April 17 with the prize to be taken between April 25 and May 13.

“Last year we were overwhelmed with the quantity and quality of entries we received for our Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Trophy Tour competition,” said Antonia Beggs of The European Tour.

“We received hundreds of letters from kids throughout the island of Ireland telling us why they deserve to win the prize and we are delighted to be in a position to run the competition again this year.

“It is such a wonderful way for schools to get involved with such a big sporting event that attracts so many high-profile professional golfers and worldwide interest.”
Brian McIlroy of the Rory Foundation said: “The Trophy Tour was a huge part of the 2015 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open for us and something that Rory McIlroy himself was really delighted to get behind.
“Rory is extremely proud of where he comes from and it’s important for him to be as good an ambassador as he can for Ireland, north and south. In addition, his commitment to helping children all over the world through the Rory Foundation is a real passion and one he feels very strongly about.
“We immensely enjoyed our visits to last year’s winning schools and we are all thrilled once again to be able to engage with schoolchildren throughout Ireland to stimulate pride in their class, school, where they’re from, and their own achievements.”
For more information on the 2016 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation or to purchase tickets visit http://Dubai Duty Free Irish Open
The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open 2016 is also supported by the Irish Government under the auspices of the Fáilte Ireland and Sport Ireland.

Don’t miss out on your chance to play in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Pro-Am

February 23, 2016
Announcing details of the initiative are (l-r) K Club Lady Captain Angela Cirillo, Captain Tony Kelly, European Tour Championship Director Rory Colville and Dubai Duty Free golf ambassador Des Smyth. Dear member of the media, please feel free to use the following gratis preview from the Dubai Duty free Irish Open preview (which must be credited to Golffile and used in conjunction with this release only) in your respective publications with immediate effect.

Announcing details of the Irish Open initiative are (l-r) K Club Lady Captain Angela Cirillo, Captain Tony Kelly, European Tour Championship Director Rory Colville and Dubai Duty Free golf ambassador Des Smyth

The theme for this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, hosted by the Rory Foundation, is ‘History in the Making’ and that will certainly be the case when one lucky club team lines up to play alongside a top golf professional in the event’s Pro–Am at The K Club on Wednesday May 18.
For the first time ever, The European Tour and Dubai Duty Free are giving golf clubs around the island of Ireland the chance to play alongside international golf superstars and world famous celebrities following the launch of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Club Challenge.
Part of Rory McIlroy’s ‘five point plan’  http://bit.ly/1VA6JvB to encourage golf clubs to help make this year’s Irish Open one of the best yet, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Club Challenge is a nationwide golf tournament in which all of Ireland’s 420 golf clubs are eligible to compete for one coveted tee slot for three of its members alongside a top professional.
Rory is asking clubs to use existing club competitions to find a Men’s and Ladies’ champion who will then go on to represent their club in regional qualifiers with a national final to be held at The K Club.
The winning team will be invited to participate in the Pro-Am courtesy of title sponsor Dubai Duty Free, which has kindly donated one of its own Pro-Am team spaces for the competition.
Tournament host Rory McIlroy said; “As a huge fan of the Irish Open, it has always been important to me to ensure its longevity and success. I believe that giving a golf club the opportunity to play in what is one of the most exciting events of the week is a great way to encourage clubs to get behind this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

“When I was starting my golf journey at Holywood Golf Club, I would have loved to have an opportunity like this, so I am urging all golf clubs to get involved. I’m really looking forward to seeing the winning team at The K Club on May 18.”

How to enter

Golf clubs wishing to enter the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Club Challenge competition must register their interest at www.golfnet.ie/DDFirishopen before February 29.

The competition works by each club selecting an existing Men’s and Ladies’ singles competition to serve as a team qualifier, in which Junior Members are also eligible to compete. This competition must be held and confirmation of the names of the winners received before April 10, 2016.

The winner of each Men’s and Ladies’ competition selected by the club will form the club’s two-person team, which will then compete in one of 4-6 regional qualifiers which will be held throughout Ireland in late April.

The winners of each regional qualifier will then go forward to compete in the All-Ireland Final, to be held on the Smurfit Course at The K Club in early May.

The winning club will be invited to send their team (male and female participant) as well as an official nominated by the club to compete in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

The format for the regional qualifiers and final will be four-ball better ball.

The Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) and Irish Ladies Golf Union (ILGU) will administer entries and will conduct the regional qualifiers and All-Ireland final.

Copy via Ciara Jordan (Duffy Rafferty Communications)