The Irish Open is part of golf’s European Tour and is Ireland’s biggest annual golf tournament.
First played in 1927 at Dublin’s Portmarnock Golf Club, the competition has been taken place at 21 different courses both in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
In 2017 the Irish Open was added to the Rolex Series, boosting prize money to $7 million, with over $1 million going to the winner. This made the event one of the most valuable on the European Tour. In 2020 due to scheduling and location changes, the Irish Open dropped out of the Rolex Series of events.
The list of recent Irish Open winners reflects the strengthening of the tournament since 2015. The roving nature of the tournament means that each winner required very different styles of golf to win. Soren Kjeldsen dealt with tough conditions best at Royal County Down, Rory McIlroy used his power to pull away from the field on the final day at the K Club, Jon Rahm surprised even himself by scoring so well on the Portstewart links and Russell Knox utilised his links experience to win at Ballyliffin in a playoff.
Next Played: TBD
Next years tournament dates have not been scheduled yet. We'll update this page with more information as we have it.
Last Played: September 2020
- Winner: John Catlin
- To Par / Margin: -10 / 2 Strokes
|Galgorm Castle Golf Club||Ballymena, Northern Ireland||7,078 Yards||$1,250,000|
After three weeks in Spain and Portugal, the European Tour returns for another four week UK swing beginning at Galgorm Castle Golf Club. The Irish Open has long been held at courses all over the island of Ireland and Galgorm Castle becomes the seventh Northern Irish venue to host this historic championship.
Everybody at the club has done an excellent job of preparing the 7,078 yard layout on relatively short notice. This is the first time the European Tour has visited the parkland course but it is no stranger to hosting quality tournaments. Several players in the field this week will have competed in the Northern Ireland Open which has been held at Galgorm Castle eight times under various names and formats since its inaugural event in 2013.
The European Tour players should expect to score fairly well on what is a short course even for a par 70. The two par fives on the layout will be reachable in two shots by the majority of the field and the bigger hitters will also look to capitalise on the short par fours. Driving accuracy will be an important factor as well though with trees framing the fairways and both the rivers Maine and Braid winding their way into play throughout.
Irish Open Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2020. Tips for next year will be added the week of the tournament.
The Irish Open saw a marked increase in its prestige levels in recent years, first with Rory McIlroy hosting and then becoming a Rolex Series event. That is no longer the case and the prize fund for 2020’s rearranged event is down significantly. Despite the clamour for European Tour players to compete, the Irish Open does lack some star power and it’s no surprise that the biggest name in the field, Shane Lowry, is also the clear favourite to win at a best price of 8/1.
A player of Lowry’s class has every chance of justifying his lofty position in the betting. The weight of expectation on his shoulders is real upon his first competitive return to Northern Ireland since winning the Open at Portrush last summer but it will be reduced somewhat by the lack of fans. Lowry will also face leaderboard pressure from the rest of the field. It may not be a top class field but it is still right to expect a large number of birdies on a course that should be gettable for the majority.
Ryan Fox - 22/1
Among those in the field to have competed at Galgorm Castle before, few will be as positive about their return as Ryan Fox. The big-hitting Kiwi played in the Northern Ireland Open just once, winning the event by four strokes in 2016 and setting the record low score in the process. It is easy to say that that win had more to do with Fox being a cut above that week but he beat some very good players such as Dylan Frittelli, Tom Lewis and Aaron Rai. As good as Fox was relative to the field that week, Galgorm Castle allowed him to utilise his skills which largely revolve around his power and ball striking.
As mentioned above, Galgorm Castle is far from the longest course used by the European Tour. Fox has been trying to overpower courses long before anybody had ever heard of Bryson DeChambeau and will expect his excellence with his driver and ability to hit shorter irons into greens than most to give him a real edge in Ballymena.
After being rather beaten up over two days at Winged Foot, Fox will relish the much more scoreable conditions and course that he will find in Northern Ireland. Given his previous at Galgorm Castle, he should be a major player at odds of 22/1.
Joakim Lagergren - 40/1
Joakim Lagergren is another player with previous winning form at this venue who should be taken seriously this week. The Swede didn’t separate himself from the field when winning the Northern Ireland Open in 2014 in quite the same way as Fox but he has the same perfect record of one win from one start at Galgorm Castle.
Lagergrens’ win was one of a number of stepping stones up to the European Tour for him. He was already a multiple winner on a couple of smaller tours – the Gecko Pro Tour and Nordic Golf League – so those who had followed his career were not surprised to see him get over the line on the European Tour in the 2018 Sicilian Open. That event was of a similar strength to this week’s Irish Open and Largergren will rightly feel as though he has what it takes to double his European Tour tally.
The 28 year old will feel particularly confident because he has played a fair amount of very good golf in Ireland over the years. He enjoys this tournament, arrives in pretty good form and is a very good price at 40/1.
Padraig Harrington - 100/1
The fairways won’t be surrounded by home fans at Galgorm Castle but those watching on from afar will still be cheering on all the Irish golfers in the field. Padraig Harrington is among the most popular Irish players competing in his home open. The European Ryder Cup captain is a former Irish Open winner and although he comes into the event cold, anybody who follows him on social media knows that he has been keeping his game as sharp as possible at home.
Harrington has plenty of form playing well at parkland courses. He won’t mind having to reign himself in a bit off the tee by choosing less than driver on the tightest holes as he backs his iron play to set up birdie chances if and when he finds himself on the fairway. Even a moderately strong start from Harrington should see his price tumble from the current odds of 100/1 that are available.
Irish Open Recent Winners
|Year||Winner||Course||To Par||Winning Margin|
|2020||John Catlin||Galgorm Castle||-10||2 Strokes|
|2019||Jon Rahm||Lahinch||-16||2 Strokes|
|2017||Jon Rahm||Portstewart||-24||6 Strokes|
|2016||Rory McIlroy||The K Club||-12||3 Strokes|
|2015||Soren Kjeldsen||Royal County Down||-2||Playoff|
|2014||Mikko Ilonen||Fota Island||-13||1 Stroke|
|2013||Paul Casey||Carton House||-14||3 Strokes|
|2012||Jamie Donaldson||Royal Portrush||-18||4 Strokes|
|2011||Simon Dyson||Killarney||-15||1 Stroke|
About the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open
The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is a tournament on the European Tour, which takes place annually in Ireland. The event has been played in various locations across Ireland over the years, including Dublin, Cork, Antrim, Limerick and Donegal.
The first Irish Open took place at Portmarnock way back in 1927. George Duncan was the first winner, beating runner-up Henry Cotton to the trophy by just a single stroke. The Carroll’s Irish Open in 1975 was the first to be held on the European Tour. Since 2017, the Irish Open has been one of the Rolex Series events. In recent years, the tournament has been one of the Open Qualifying Series, with qualification for The Open Championship up for grabs.
Portmarnock the Spiritual Home of the Irish Open
As mentioned, the Irish Open has had several homes over the years. In fact, 20 different venues have hosted Ireland’s grandest golfing event. However, Portmarnock Golf Club in Dublin has held the competition a record 19 times, including the very first back in 1927.
Portmarnock, which is located 15 minutes from Dublin airport, last hosted the event in 2003. After becoming part of the European Tour in 1975, Portmarnock Golf Club was the Irish Open’s course from 1976 to 1982 before Royal Dublin took over for three years.
Portmarnock has a deep history with the Irish Open, especially while it was sponsored by Carroll’s tobacco company from 1975 to 1993, during which period it hosted 12 of the 19 events. Rory McIlroy once said, “I always love playing at Portmarnock Golf Club; one of the world’s greatest links courses in my view.” Several other top golfers have commended the course over the years.
As mentioned, the last Irish Open tournament to be held at Portmarnock was in 2003. Back then, New Zealander Michael Campbell beat Thomas Bjorn and Peter Hedblom in a playoff to bag himself €300,000 in prize money.
Here are all the winners of the Irish Open when it’s been played at Portmarnock:
|Year at Portmarnock||Winner|
|1927||George Duncan (Scotland)|
|1929||Abe Mitchell (England)|
|1934||Syd Easterbrook (England)|
|1938||Bobby Locke (South Africa)|
|1946||Fred Daly (Northern Ireland)|
|1948||Dai Rees (Wales)|
|1976||Ben Crenshaw (USA)|
|1977||Hubert Green (USA)|
|1978||Ken Brown (Scotland)|
|1979||Mark James (England)|
|1980||Mark James (England)|
|1981||Sam Torrance (Scotland)|
|1982||John O’Leary (Ireland)|
|1986||Seve Ballesteros (Spain)|
|1987||Bernhard Langer (Germany)|
|1988||Ian Woosnam (Wales)|
|1989||Ian Woosnam (Wales)|
|1990||Jose Maria Olazabal (Spain)|
|2003||Michael Campbell (New Zealand)|
Dubai Duty Free the Current Sponsor
Over the years, the Irish Open has had various sponsors. From 2015 to 2018, it was called the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation. In May 2018, Dubai Duty Free extended their sponsorship of the Irish Open until 2022.
The first sponsor was Carroll’s, who sponsored the tournament from 1975 to 1993. Since then Murphy’s Brewery, Nissan the car maker, the Three mobile brand, and Discover Ireland have all sponsored Ireland’s main event.
Montgomerie, Langer, Faldo & Ballesteros Tied on Three
The Irish Open has served up a number of notable winners since George Duncan won the first back in the 20s. The last tournament (2019) was won by Spaniard Jon Rahm, which was his second Irish Open victory after winning two years prior to that. Also, Rory McIlroy’s one and only Irish Open triumph came in 2016, when he won by three strokes.
Four players have won this tournament on three occasions, each holding the joint lead in the list of multiple winners. Brits Colin Montgomerie and Nick Faldo have three wins to their name, while German Bernhard Langer and the late Seve Ballesteros from Spain have also won the Irish Open three times.
Lowry’s Memorable Win as an Amateur
Only five players from Ireland have won the Irish Open. The first of those was Harry Bradshaw in 1947 (then again in 1949), followed by Christy O’Connor Jnr, John O’Leary and Padraig Harrington.
However, it was Shane Lowry’s memorable win as an amateur back in 2009 that certainly tops the lot. Lowry defied the odds to beat England’s Robert Rock in a playoff at County Louth Golf Club. The pair were tied with 271 strokes 17 under par, but Lowry went on to beat professional Rock in the playoff. It was a memorable moment for County Westmeath-born Lowry and for the Irish Open in general.
Two years before Lowry’s success, Padraig Harrington became the first home Irish Open winner for 25 years, since Christy O’Connor won the first European Tour Irish Open in 1975. Harrington beat Welshman Bradley Dredge in a playoff in 2007.
Finch’s Famous Fall
The Irish Open has produced plenty of thrills and spills, but Richard Finch’s fall into water in 2008 will always be a highlight. Usually, the golf does the talking in the big events, but Finch’s infamous fall will go down in history.
Finch went for the green with a tricky shot, but the Englishman tumbled into the nearby water, leading to worldwide media coverage. Incredibly, Finch dusted himself down and went on to win the tournament. It was certainly an Irish Open moment to remember.
Previous Irish Open Courses
Lahinch Golf Club
|Location||Course Length||Tournaments Held|
|County Clare, Ireland||7,036 Yards||1 (2019)|
Lahinch Golf Club is right up there with the best Irish courses. It’s as true a test of links golf as you could hope to find and has even been described as the ‘St Andrews of Ireland’. The original design for Lahinch was done by Old Tom Morris, one of St Andrews’ most famous sons, and although it’s been tweaked over the years the 7,036 yard par 70 layout retains that classical links feel.
The players will have to cope with undulating fairways, a host of tricky bunkers and the challenge of hitting accurate approach shots into large greens. The course has also been switched from a par 72 with two holes which play as par fives for the members turned into par fours so a certain amount of power off the tee could come in handy. In general though, scoring well at Lahinch requires a controlled game from tee to green, whilst excellent short game skills are an advantage.