Posts Tagged ‘Sergio Garcia’

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
“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, 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 or +44 (0) 1344 840681.


Golfing stars backing expanded NI Junior Open at Killymoon GC

June 8, 2015
Michael Gallagher with Sergio Garcia

Michael Gallagher with Sergio Garcia

Some of biggest names in golf are backing this year’s Bathe NI Irish Junior Open at Killymoon Golf Club.
Ryder Cup stars Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley are all supporting the tournament which will take place from Monday 24th to Wednesday 26th August.
In 2014 the inaugural event attracted 210 entries from across the UK and Ireland. This year’s event has been extended to three days to allow over 300 competitors from the ages of 6 to 18 to play for the different age group Championships on offer [6-7, 7-9, 10-12, 13-15, and 16-18].
The 2014 NI Junior Open also includes a 36-hole Championship for the 60 lowest handicap competitors in the draw which was won last year by Irish international, Owen Crooks.

This year’s event has been well supported by a number of local business with Lilac Cancer Care being the main charity beneficiary.
Speaking at the launch of the NI Junior Open, event founder and PGA professional, Michael Gallagher said; “We had such a great reaction last year that I was left with no option but to extend this year’s event to another day to cope with the high demand.

“This is testament to the support I have had from the numerous sponsors, officials at Killymoon Golf Club and 2016 PGA of Ireland Captain, Gary Chambers. I would also like to thank Colm Mullan, Bathe NI managing director for coming on board as the main sponsor and to Lilac Cancer Care who will benefit immensely from the event.”

Bathe NI MD, Colm Mullan, believes he couldn’t have chosen a better time to be associated with junior golf with world number one Rory McIlroy acting as a superb role model for youngsters entering the game.
“I am extremely proud to be associated with the largest junior golf event in Ireland. Junior golf in Ireland is on an upward trend and I want to wish all involved the very best of luck,” said Colm.
“I would like to congratulate UK & Ireland Junior Golf Coach of the Year Michael Gallagher for his meticulous organising and planning along with all at Killymoon Golf Club.”
Entry fee is £15. For more information or to register for the ‘Bathe NI Irish Junior Open’ please visit

Smyth predicts testing times at RCD

May 26, 2015
Des Smyth with pupils from Fairlawn Primary School

Des Smyth with pupils from Fairlawn Primary School

Royal County Down will be an unknown quantity for the majority of the field competing in the Irish Open and that could play into the hands of the ‘home’ players according to Irish golfing legend Des Smyth.
“I think there will be a big advantage for the home players at RCD because no-one has played it,” said the Dubai Duty Free tournament ambassador.
“The rest of the field won’t realise just how difficult it will be and if there is a bit of wind, their expectations might be too high.
“The guys who have played it know how tough it can be and they will be able to manage their games accordingly, so don’t be surprised if something strange happens.”
With the stage set and the field gathering for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation the famous links is primed to take centre stage after a 76 year absence.
Smyth rates Royal County Down as one of the most demanding courses in the world and believes the players will need to get a couple of practice rounds in to really get a feel for the place.
“It depends on the wind, just like any links course, it needs a breeze to blow,” he added.

“RCD is right up there in terms of difficulty alongside Carnoustie and Birkdale but these are world class players and they are used to judging a course fairly quickly.”

From the outside it’s hard to gauge how Royal County Down will play this week, but the last time a professional championship was held at the course was back in 2002 when Japan’s Nobaru Sugai won the Senior British Open with a score of just three under par.
Regardless of the scoring, Smyth is looking forward to an event which has already drawn comparisons with the glory days of the Irish Open back in the 1980s.
He continued, “I played all those years back and don’t get me wrong, they had great players involved, the likes of Seve, Norman and Lyle.
“I look back with regret that I never won it. I think I finished third a couple of times and I had some good runs at it but I just wasn’t good enough.
“They were great Irish Opens but this is right up there. The combination of Rory’s Foundation, The European Tour and Dubai Duty Free has really created a stir.
“When you think that Rory is the world number one player and he is bringing Rickie Fowler, Ernie Els and Sergio Garcia; it is really big stuff.”
As part of his ambassadorial role Smyth has spent the last couple of weeks touring schools that won the inaugural Irish Open Trophy Tour competition.
The four winning schools hosted a visit not only from the Irish Open Trophy but also the Claret Jug and participated in a Q&A session with Smyth, and representatives of The European Tour, Rory Foundation and Royal County Down Golf Club.
The pupils also took part in a Confederation of Golf in Ireland ‘Golf Awareness Clinic’ which gave them 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.
“We got a very good reaction,” added Des
“I was a bit out of my comfort zone but I really enjoyed the whole experience.
“They all recognised the Claret Jug big time, but they were also quite fascinated with the Irish Open Trophy as well, especially the schools in Northern Ireland [Woodlawn PS and Fairview PS] because they knew the tournament was happening soon.”

Sponsors’ invites still up for grabs at Irish Open

April 20, 2015
Star names confirmed for Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation

Star names confirmed for Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation

Behind the headlines created by Patrick Reed, Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald committing to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open there was some welcome news for home grown talent hoping to bag a place at the event hosted by the Rory Foundation.
Star names like Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els and Lee Westwood are all eligible to play in the tournament via their world rankings which means that much sought after sponsor’s invites have not been used to fill spots in the field at Royal County Down.
That’s a big boost for the likes of Gareth Maybin and Simon Thornton, who both lost their tour cards last season and will likely need a helping hand to get in this time around.
There could be as many as eight sponsor’s invites available at Royal County Down with James Finnigan, Commercial Director of the Irish Open explaining that all the ‘stakeholders’ involved in the event, including Rory McIlroy, would be involved in discussions about how to make best use of those places.
“Rory will have influence, he is hosting the tournament and he is our partner but we will not do anything unilaterally,” said Finnegan.
“Likewise we will be speaking with our partners in Dubai Duty Free and Tourism NI. Inevitably there will be many requests for two or three places and unfortunately, someone will be on the wrong side of that line.”
One man who definitely won’t need to avail of an invite is Darren Clarke who will be playing in his 24th Irish Open. The winner of an Open Championship and two WGC events has yet to taste success at his ‘home’ championship but he’s not ready to throw in the towel just yet.
“I have always wanted to win the Irish Open,” said the 2016 Ryder Cup captain.
“I have won at home, the European Open at the K Club but never the Irish Open.

“Some of my earliest memories were playing in the Irish Open in Portmarnock as an amateur so it is a very special tournament for me. It is one that I have come close to winning a few times [he has finished second and third] but never quite managed to get over that final hurdle.

“I think if you ask any professional they will always say that they want to win their home open and hopefully, with it being back on links course, I can have a good week.”
Clarke can’t remember the last time he actually played a competitive round of golf at Royal County Down but he’s expecting a tough challenge.
“It’s a sensational golf course and it is demanding. Ireland has some of the best links in the world and Royal County Down is right at the top of that list,” added Darren who finished tied for 52nd at The Masters.
“It’s a fantastic test and you have to get the ball up in the air off the tee. That’s different from a lot of links courses which give you the option of hitting the ball very low.
“If the conditions are tough and it is windy it will mean a little bit of local knowledge could be very important particularly when it comes to getting your lines off the tees.”

Dubai Duty Free sponsorship another shot in the arm for Irish Open

March 14, 2015
SIGNED SEALED AND DELIVERED: (L-R) Barry Funston, Chief Executive, the Rory Foundation; Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman, Dubai Duty Free; George O'Grady, Chief Executive, The European Tour; Kathryn Thomson, Chief Operating Officer, Tourism NI

SIGNED SEALED AND DELIVERED: (L-R) Barry Funston, Chief Executive, the Rory Foundation; Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman, Dubai Duty Free; George O’Grady, Chief Executive, The European Tour; Kathryn Thomson, Chief Operating Officer, Tourism NI

The 2015 Irish Open at Royal County Down (May 28-May 31) is shaping up to be something really special.
Friday’s announcement that Dubai Duty Free has come on board as title sponsor is further proof that the tournament is in rude health.
“It’s great news that Dubai Duty Free has come on board as the title sponsor for this year’s Irish Open,” said Rory McIlroy, who is in America preparing for his next event, the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
“Dubai Duty Free is a strong global brand with great experience in sports sponsorship through golf, tennis and horse racing. The European Tour and I both have strong links to Dubai, and I am sure Dubai Duty Free will bring a lot to the event and add to its already great prestige.”
The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation will see the world number one play the role of tournament host on behalf of his charitable foundation.
Rory will be joined at RCD by many of world golf’s most exciting players. Rickie Fowler, Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood have already confirmed their participation alongside golfing superstars McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Ryder Cup Captain Darren Clarke.
A one-year deal has been agreed initially but the company has a history of long-term investment in sporting events.
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said, “The good thing is that Dubai Duty Free, like the Masters, has long term relationships and short term contracts. But I should say that we also agreed the Dubai Desert Classic for one year and that was 26 years ago.”
Speaking to the BBC, Graeme McDowell said; “Rory has really gone the extra mile, put his name and his Foundation’s name behind it. The field is going to be amazing, it should be quite the tournament this year.”

Dubai Duty Free is one of the world’s leading airport retailers and is already associated with The European Tour as sponsors of the DP World Tour Championship and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, won at the Emirates Golf Club this year by McIlroy.
Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free said, “We are delighted to become the title sponsor of the Irish Open hosted by The Rory Foundation. The tournament has a tremendous history and is the flagship golf event in Ireland providing thrilling golfing action for spectators, golf fans and television viewers around the world.
“This year’s tournament features a fantastic line up and we are very much looking forward to working with Rory McIlroy and his Foundation, The European Tour, Tourism Northern Ireland and the members and management of Royal County Down on this prestigious sporting event.”
Northern Ireland’s Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister, Arlene Foster, added: “I welcome the announcement that Dubai Duty Free is to become title sponsor of the Irish Open.
“The partnership with Dubai Duty Free will further raise the profile of the tournament when it takes place in Northern Ireland this year, and again in 2017, and will help to increase our reputation as a fantastic golfing destination.
“This sponsorship announcement is further proof that we are establishing Northern Ireland as the home of great events with which world class brands wish to be associated.”

Harrington looking forward to RCD Irish Open test

March 9, 2015

In-form Padraig Harrington will be hoping to add a second Irish Open title to his glittering CV when he heads to Royal County Down for the Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation in May.
The 43 year old recently returned to the winners’ enclosure when he triumphed at the Honda Classic on the US PGA Tour, in doing so rising from 297th to 82nd in the Official World Golf Ranking.
The impressively clinical performance at PGA National in Florida was reminiscent of Harrington’s halcyon days of 2007, when he won the Irish Open at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort shortly before a period of domination in the Majors, during which he claimed back-to-back Open Championships and the US PGA Championship in little more than a year.
The popular Irishman ended a 25-year wait for a home winner at Adare Manor when he beat Welshman Bradley Dredge in a play-off, which was a fitting result after several near-misses, including when he was joint runner-up in 2001 and 2004 and tied fifth in 2005.
Harrington added another runner-up finish in 2010, and in 2012, when the tournament was played in Northern Ireland – at Royal Portrush – for the first time in its long history, he was tied seventh.
Three years on and the Irish Open is heading back north of the border, and the 14-time European Tour winner is relishing making his competitive debut at Royal County Down from May 28-31.
“The Irish Open is my fifth Major and always one of the first events on my schedule, for obvious reasons,” said Harrington, who was the European Tour Number One in 2006.

“Whilst it is always a special week for me, this year will be interesting as it’ll be the first time I’ve played at Royal County Down as a professional, so I’m really looking forward to getting there and seeing how the course has been set up.

“The last time the Irish Open was played in Northern Ireland, at Royal Portrush in 2012, it was a huge success and I was glad to be in the mix on the final day. The crowds were similar to a Major and generated a great atmosphere, and I’m sure it will be well attended again at Royal County Down.
“It’s great to see Rory involved and supporting the tournament, and it looks like it’ll be one of the strongest fields the Irish Open has ever had. It’s shaping up to be a great week and I look forward to being part of it.”
Harrington will be joined at Royal County Down by a star-studded field, including tournament host and World Number One Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Lee Westwood, Rickie Fowler and defending champion Mikko Ilonen.
More than 80,000 spectators are expected and tens of thousands of tickets have already been sold for the event, which is supported by Tourism Northern Ireland.
Anyone wanting to watch Harrington and co in action can purchase tickets at Tickets cost between £30 and £35 per day and families will be delighted to hear that kids under the age of 16 will be admitted FREE as long as they are accompanied by an adult (up to four children are allowed with one paying adult).
For more information on the Irish Open 2015 or to purchase tickets, visit For information on accommodation offers and golf in Northern Ireland, visit:

Rory and Royal County Down proving a potent mix for Irish Open 2015

February 23, 2015
Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els have committed to playing in the Irish Open at RCD

Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els have committed to playing in the Irish Open at RCD

It’s worth noting, that in professional golf, having the right venue at seemingly the right time of the year doesn’t automatically add up to a great field. Such are the opportunities offered to the best golfers in the world that they can hand pick the tournaments they want to play in.
It pays therefore to have a passionate advocate involved and in Rory McIlroy, the 2015 Irish Open has someone who is going a long way towards making this year’s staging one to savour.
With the Rory Foundation acting as tournament hosts at Royal County Down, the world number one is fully invested in the event and it says much for his ambition that no-one is considered out of reach as he attempts to bring a world class field together.
Last week, Ernie Els and Sergio Garcia joined Lee Westwood and Rickie Fowler in committing to play in the event (May 28-May 31) and more high profile players are expected to follow suit in the coming weeks.
“To have Rory working alongside his Foundation and with the European Tour is a win-win for everyone,” said the European Tour’s Gordon Simpson.
“Look at the field we have been able to announce already, and it’s only the middle of February.

“Sergio hasn’t played in this event for 15 years. But he has heard all about Royal County Down and how things went at Royal Portrush because he has been speaking to Rory.

“I think all these conversations Rory is having with his peers is having an effect. He is such a friendly character, he has a lot of good mates out there and they want to help each other. I am sure that somewhere down the line, Rory will be helping the likes of Rickie Fowler as well.”
The chance to compete at Royal County Down is also proving to be particularly enticing for the players according to Gordon.
“There is a mythical quality to Royal County Down. It is a not a venue that the tour returns to year after year which means that 90 per cent of the field will never have stepped in through the front gates,” he said.
“When the players hear other people talking about it. When Rory describes it as his favourite course in the world, that inspires other players to come and see exactly what all the talk is about.”
More than 80,000 spectators are expected and tens of thousands of tickets have already been sold for the event, which is supported by Tourism Northern Ireland.
Anyone wishing to witness the action first hand can purchase tickets at Tickets cost between £30 and £35 per day and families will be delighted to hear that kids under the age of 16 will be admitted FREE as long as they are accompanied by an adult (up to four children are allowed with one paying adult).