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Irish Open 2018: Everything you need to know about this year's tournament

By Adam McKendry

With the 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation just a week away, here's our handy guide on everything you need to know about the tournament.

This year's event is being held at the picturesque Donegal links at Ballyliffin, and if you're heading there next week then you're in for an absolute treat!

What are the dates?

Tuesday 3 July: Practice Day

Wednesday 4 July: Pro-Am

Thursday 5 July: Day One

Friday 6 July: Day Two

Saturday 7 July: Day Three

Sunday 8 July: Day Four

Who are the favourites?

Defending champion Jon Rahm has to be one of the favourites as the highest ranked player in the field, although he'll be well challenged by tournament host and World No.7 Rory McIlroy.

Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello, a former Ryder Cup player, has good form on links having won last year's Scottish Open, while Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke will of course be in contention on a links course.

Top names such as Matthew Fitzpatrick, Thomas Pieters and Thorbjorn Olesen have also confirmed they'll be playing, as will local hopefuls Paul Dunne and Shane Lowry.

The final entry list and tee times for the opening two rounds will be released early next week.

What's Ballyliffin like?

A stunning links course set on the northern tip of Donegal, it may be a bit out of the way but Ballyliffin is going to be an absolutely fantastic venue for the Irish Open.

Consistenly ranked in the top-10 of the best courses in Ireland, it's lauded by casual golfers and seasoned professionals alike as a true test of your golf game.

Sitting at just over 7,200 yards, the course features both unique holes and incredible scenery, with its signature par-five 13th hole one of the best around.

Take a look at each hole in the gallery below.

I have no idea where I'm going!

Relax! Check out the course map before you go and you can plan your way around.

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Ballyliffin course map

Which players have won the event in the past?

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Spanish golfer Seve Ballesteros with the trophy after winning the Carroll's Irish Open at the Royal Dublin Golf Club, Dublin, Ireland, 1986. (Photo by Simon Bruty/Getty Images)
 

There may be some names you recognise, some who have already been mentioned above.

Obviously Rahm won it last year at Portstewart, McIlroy won it at the K Club in 2016, while Lowry won it at County Louth GC as an amateur in 2009.

The late, great Seve Ballesteros was a winner in 1983, '85 and '86, while Nick Faldo went one better by winning three in a row in 1991, '92 and '93.

The facts

  • The first Irish Open was held in 1927
  • This is the first time the Irish Open has been held in Donegal
  • The prize fund for the event is $7million
  • Jon Rahm could become the sixth person to defend his title after Faldo ('91, '92 and '93), Ballesteros ('85 and '86), Colin Montgomerie ('96 and '97), Ian Woosnam ('88 and '89) and Mark James ('79 and '80)
  • Only four players have won the Irish Open three times: Ballesteros ('83, '85 and '86), Bernhard Langer ('84, '87 and '94), Faldo ('91, '92 and '93) and Montgomerie ('96, '97 and '01)
  • Ballyliffin has two courses on its grounds: the tournament Glashedy Links, which the pros will play, and the Old Links
  • Jon Rahm's winning score of 264 at Portstewart last year is the lowest in Irish Open history
  • Graeme McDowell holds the record for the lowest round at an Irish Open when he shot a 61 at County Louth in 2009
  • The Irish Open is a qualifying event for The Open Championship - the top three finishers at Ballyliffin who have not already qualified for The Open will earn a place in the field at Carnoustie
  • Only seven Irish players have lifted the trophy: Fred Daly ('46), Harry Bradshaw ('47), Christy O'Connor Jr ('75), John O'Leary ('82), Padraig Harrington ('07), Shane Lowry ('09) and Rory McIlroy ('16)

Can I still go?

Absolutely you can!

Tickets for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation are on sale at www.dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com and begin at €20 for Pro-Am Wednesday, with tickets for Thursday and Friday costing €32 and day tickets for the weekend costing €34 each.

An adult season souvenir ticket, which covers five days of world class golf from Wednesday to Sunday, costs just €110.

Concessions are available for customers aged over 60 and between 14 and 17, while children up to 13 are permitted free entry when accompanied by a ticket holding adult.

Official Hospitality tickets 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 hospitality@europeantour.com or +44 (0) 1344 840681.

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