The European Tour heads for the Emerald Isle this week where Spain’s Jon Rahm defends the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin GC in County Donegal.

Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Leaderboard, Preview, TV Times

It’s the fourth Rolex Series event of the year this week on the European Tour. Jon Rahm is defending champion in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin.

Jon Rahm is just one of an impressive selection of stars teeing it up at Ballyliffin for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. Among those teeing it up are, 2016 Irish Open champion Rory McIlroy, Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello, Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen.

Four-time Major Champion Rory McIlroy’s charitable initiative, the Rory Foundation, will host the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open for the fourth and final time this week. The Rory Foundation is a non-profit charitable foundation with the ambition of having a positive impact on children’s and their families’ lives.

Rory McIlroy hosts Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

Rory McIlroy’s foundation hosts Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

The Irish Open is the fourth Rolex Series event of the year – an exclusive group of tournaments with a minimum prize fund of US $7million. It’s the second of three consecutive Rolex Series events following the HNA Open de France last week, and ahead of next week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.

These events give players the chance to secure important Race to Dubai points, as well as increased Ryder Cup points with the biennial contest edging ever-nearer.

The Irish Open was first contested in 1927 and has produced some famous winners over the years. Bobby Locke, Bernard Gallacher, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Bernard Langer, Colin Montgomerie and Rory McIlroy have all been champions. Last year, Jon Rahm of Spain put on a superb display to win by six at Portstewart.

The Glashedy Links is a relatively recent addition to Ballyliffin’s portfolio. In late 1991 the committee decided the pressure of play on the “Old Course” was becoming too great so Pat Ruddy and Tom Craddock were asked to come and assess the opportunity for creating a second layout on the club’s land. Ruddy and Craddock described the site as, “probably the finest piece of links golfing terrain,” they had ever seen. With that glowing recommendation the club decided to press on with construction. By August 1995 the Glashedy Links was completed and play began on August 3.

Ballyliffin GC plays host to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

Ballyliffin GC plays host to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

It’s quite simply a pearl of a links. It’s marked by sweeping terrain and towering sand hills. The greens are sprawling and the bunkers beautifully revetted. The Glashedy Rock is visible for almost the entire round as the ground rises and falls between the dunes.

The weather looks set fair with no rain in the forecast.

Venue: Ballyliffin GC, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Date: Jul 5 – 8
Course stats: par 72, 7,462 yards
Purse: $7,000,000
Defending champion: Jon Rahm (-24)

How to watch the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

TV Coverage:
Thursday 5 – Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 10.30am
Friday 6 – Sky Sports Golf from 10.30am and Sky Sports Main Event from 11.50am
Saturday 7 – Sky Sports Golf from 12.30pm
Sunday 8 – Sky Sports Golf from 12pm

Not a Sky Sports customer and want to watch the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open?

Why not buy a Now TV pass? For £7.99 you can get a day pass if you wish to watch one of the rounds or, for just £12.99, you can get a week pass to see the whole tournament.

Buy a Now TV Sky Sports Day Pass for £7.99
Buy a Now TV Sky Sports Week Pass for £12.99

Players to watch:

Jon Rahm defends Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

Jon Rahm defends Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

Jon Rahm – The defending champion has talked about how much he enjoys the challenge of the links and he displayed at Portstewart last year just how well he can play on one. He was tied 5th in last week’s French Open.

Chris Wood – Another good links player, Wood was tied second last week at Le Golf National.

Paul Dunne – The Irishman knows this course well and he’s been playing steadily this season.

Key hole: 13th – A superb par-5 of 571 yards playing straight up hill. Depending on the direction and strength of the wind, it could be reachable or it could be a true three shotter.