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Rory McIlroy's Irish Open return confirmed as world number one set to play at Mount Juliet

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Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

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Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy will return to the Irish Open field this year after sitting out last season's event.

The world number one's place at Mount Juliet was confirmed on Friday afternoon by tournament host Graeme McDowell.

Due to the impact of the Olympic Games on the golfing calendar, this year's event has been shifted from it's normal July berth and will now take place from May 28-31.

McIlroy will be targeting a second win in Ireland's flagship European Tour event, having also tasted success at the K Club in 2016.

The 30-year-old revealed it will be his first time playing on one of Ireland's best parkland courses in Kilkenny.

"I’m looking forward to it a lot,” he said. “It’s a bit different going back for a May date as opposed to July, and at a parkland course at Mount Juliet. I’ve never played the course but got good memories – it was the first time I ever watched Tiger Woods play in person.

“My dad drove me down and we watched the World Golf Championship there and that was really cool, so it’ll be exciting to tee it up there myself and try to win a tournament there."

McIlroy was host of the Irish Open from 2015 to 2018 before it was announced that players would take it in turns to host the event. McDowell will take on the role for both this year's and next year's events, with the 2021 edition set to return to Portstewart GC.

“I enjoyed hosting the event – it’s a privilege to host your national open," said McIlroy. "I would say to GMac, just try and prepare as best he can for the tournament and make sure he gets his work in before the week. You’ve got a lot going on, but I think everyone who hosts a tournament knows that.”

McIlroy missed last year's Irish Open as he prioritised his preparation for the Open Championship at Royal Portrush, opting instead to play the week before his home major at the Scottish Open.

The decision caused some criticism but, with plenty of support, McIlroy defended his right to make special arrangements for Open's long-awaited return to Northern Ireland.

"I'm going to make decisions that are the best thing for me," he said. "If that upsets anyone, then I'm sorry - that's not my problem, that's their problem."

Mount Juliet hosted the Irish Open from 1993-1995, when Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer and Sam Torrance lifted the trophy.

It twice hosted the WGC-American Express Championship, in 2002 and 2004, with Tiger Woods and Ernie Els coming out on top.

Ticket details

Tickets can be purchased here.

Early bird ticket prices for the 2020 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open 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 season tickets prior to March 3.

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