Ryder Cup-winning captain replaces Rory as host of the Irish Open in 2019
Former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley is ‘delighted’ that the world’s best players will descend on Lahinch Golf Club next year when it hosts the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, writes David Hayhoe.
The tournament, which boasts a $7 million prize fund as a Rolex Series event, will take place in Country Clare for the first time in its 91-year history, while it also signals a new era for the event as McGinley takes over as host of the event from Rory McIlroy.
The four-time major champion has staged each event since 2015 and won at The K Club in 2016, but the role of host will now rotate between McGinley and major champions Graeme McDowell, Darren Clarke and Padraig Harrington.
McGinley has fond memories of Lahinch after winning the South of Ireland Amateur there in 1991 and insists the world’s top golfers will be in for a stern test on one of the toughest courses in the country.
“Lahinch is one of Ireland’s truly iconic links courses and I am delighted to be taking the Irish Open there,” he said. “It will challenge some of the game’s best players to produce skill, creativity and a mindset rarely tested in professional tournaments. Embedded in the history of Irish amateur golf, as well as in the hearts of our many international visitors, it now deservedly gets the opportunity to showcase itself on the world stage.”
Kevin O’Keeffe, club captain at Lahinch Golf Club, meanwhile, insists that the hard work and commitment by everyone involved at the club has paid off.
“It’s a significant honour for the club and one which reflects the major financial investment which has been made in the golf course over the past 20 years,” he said.
“Today the course is ranked amongst the finest links in world golf and we look forward to seeing some of the game’s best pit their skills against the course.”
Rose Doyle, lady captain at Lahinch, added: “We look forward to hosting a truly world class event over our links. With The Open Championship being staged at Royal Portrush, 2019 will be a truly special year for golf in Ireland. Lahinch hosting the Irish Open will undoubtedly add significantly to what will be a unique Irish ‘links swing’.”
The Irish Open will take place from July 4-7, 2019 – two weeks before the Open Championship returns to Royal Portrush for the first time since 1951.