Irish Open set for May switch as European Tour release full 2020 schedule
As was widely expected, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will be moving to a new slot in May after fears of clashing with a high-profile tournament in the USA.
The tournament will now be played from May 28-31 as the European Tour released its full schedule for the 2020 season ahead of a year that includes an Olympics and the Ryder Cup.
No venue has been confirmed for the tournament yet, however, with Mount Juliet rumoured as organisers mull over the possibility of taking it away from a links course.
The Irish Open, which was traditionally held two weeks before The Open Championship on the first weekend in July, is one of the European Tour's marquee events.
However, with the news that one of the World Golf Championships, the FedEx St Jude Classic, would be moving to the same weekend slot on the PGA Tour, there were fears that players' loyalties could be divided.
This year's event, held at Lahinch Golf Club in Co Clare, had to deal with the major blow of Rory McIlroy not being in the field as he opted instead to play in the States in the lead up to The Open.
With concerns that other high-profile European players would do similar next year, with a WGC offering significantly more ranking points and more prize money, Tour chiefs acted swiftly.
By moving the tournament to its end of May slot, the Irish Open is on the same weekend as the Rocket Mortgage Classic on the PGA Tour, a much lesser event in terms of status.
There is still no guarantee that next year's Irish Open will attract a high-calibre field, however, given it is now just two weeks after the US PGA Championship and three weeks before the US Open.
Many players like to play in the high profile Memorial Tournament and Canadian Open - which McIlroy is defending champion of - in the build-up to the year's third Major, and playing four weeks in a row could be too much for some players.
Taking the Irish Open's current spot in the schedule, the first weekend in July, will be the Open de France, which this year will be held from October 17-20.
In other changes to the European Tour's schedule for 2020, a new event will be held in the UK in the first week of August straight after the British Masters, with more details to follow at a later time.
The Andalucia Masters will be switching to April 30-May 2, while the Trophee Hassan II and Scandinavian Invitational will be moved up to the start of June as part of the re-shuffle.
The European Tour's Rolex Series events will remain unchanged, as will its Final Series, which will see the Race to Dubai conclude with the Turkish Airlines Open, Nedbank Golf Challenge and DP World Tour Championship.
Belfast Telegraph Digital