Irish Open 2020: All you need to know as host course confirmed
The worst kept secret in golf is out as the European Tour have confirmed that Mount Juliet will host the 2020 Irish Open.
So just what is there to know about the tournament?
All you need to know about the 2020 Irish Open
When is it? The tournament has enjoyed a profitable run in the the second weekend of July for the last three seasons, forming the first leg of a links swing, followed by the Scottish Open and the Irish Open. However, in 2020 it will shift back a couple of months, due to be played on May 28-31.
Why the date change? The European Tour has basically been forced to rejig its schedule due to the Olympic Games tournament, being played from July 30 to August 2. As a result, the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational was shifted to the Irish Open's normal week. The Irish Open, which has become one of the European Tour's best supported events, was facing a decimated field and so was moved to avoid such a big clash.
Where is it? As has now been known for quite some time, Mount Juliet will host the tournament for the first time in 25 years.
What's the course like? It was designed by Jack Nicklaus and opened in 1991. Its two biggest weeks arrived in 2002 and 2004, when the Kilkenny venue played host to the WGC American Express Golf Championship. Tiger Woods would go on to say the greens were the best he had experienced that year. It's a par 72 and measures 7,264 yards from the back tees.
Is Rory McIlroy going to play? We know that Rory will make his return to the Irish Open after missing out in 2019 as he putt all his eggs in the Open Championship at Royal Portrush basket. After missing the cut following a poor opening round in the major, McIlroy admitted he should have played in Lahinch. "You live and you learn. You make these decisions and you’ve got to live with them," he said.
And the defending champion? Jon Rahm will be back in a bid to tie the record with his third Irish Open win. The players to have landed a trio of titles are his Spanish compatriot Seve Ballesteros, Colin Montgomerie, Bernhard Langer and Nick Faldo. It's little wonder he's coming back, given that he has spoken several times about his love for the Irish fans. "I haven't played the Spanish Open yet but it would be really hard for the Spanish fans to top the Irish fans this week," he said after winning at Portstewart in 2017.
Who else will be there? It's still seven months away so, needless to say, players haven't announced their schedules. The other Irish golfers like Open Champion Shane Lowry, Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington are safe bets but whether or not the tournament can attract the likes of Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose without the lure of Open preparation remains to be seen.
How much are tickets? Early bird ticket prices begin at €13 for the Wednesday Pro-Am day, with Thursday and Friday day tickets available for a special price of €23 and Saturday and Sunday tickets beginning at €27. Fans can enjoy five days of world-class golf and entertainment for only €83 if they purchase their early bird tickets prior to February 28. Children under 12 years of age are entitled to free entry when accompanied by an adult, day junior tickets for those between 12 and 17 years of age are €10 (€25 for a season ticket) while students aged between 18 and 24 with valid student cards, and over 65s, can avail of a concession ticket - €15 for Thursday and Friday, €20 for Saturday and Sunday (€60 for a season). Parking access can be purchased for €5 per day, or €10 for a season parking ticket which covers all five days.
Belfast Telegraph Digital