The European Tour visits the Emerald Isle this week for the Irish Open presented by Discover Ireland at Killarney Golf & Fishing Club in County Kerry. Ross Fisher defends the title and Open champion Darren Clarke will tee it up.
The tournament will be contested at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club in County Kerry for the second consecutive year. Last season Ross Fisher took the title in style, holding off the challenge of home favourite Padraig Harrington.
The Irish Open returned to Killarney in 2010 for the first time since Sir Nick Faldo took two Irish Open titles at the venue in back-to-back seasons – 1991 and 1992.
The Irish Open was first contested in 1927 when George Duncan was victorious at Portmarnock. The event became a fixture on the European Tour in 1975 with Christy O’Connor Jnr taking the win at Woodbrook. Since then there have been some notable champions including Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington.
Darren Clarke makes his way to Killarney hoping to add his home title to the Open Championship victory he picked up at Royal St George’s.
“I’ll be trying my best to do it,” he said. “I’m sure the home support will help me along the way.”
Those home supporters will have plenty to cheer about this week as all four of the recent Irish Major winners will tee it up. 2007 Irish Open winner and three-time Major champion Padraig Harrington will be joined by the last two US Open winners Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy.
Venue: Killarney Golf & Fishing Club, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Date: Jul 28-31
Course stats: par 71, 7,161 yards
Purse: €1,500,000 Winner: €250,000
Defending Champion: Ross Fisher (-18)
Thursday 28- Live on Sky Sports 1 from 10am
Friday 29 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 10am
Saturday 30 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 1.30pm
Sunday 31 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 12pm
The Irish Major winners will obviously be out to secure success on home soil, but who else might emerge from the pack at Killarney?
Richard Green – The Australian was fifth here last year so clearly enjoys the course. He’s been one of the most consistent performers on the European Tour in recent years and he’s showed decent recent form with and 11th place finish in France and a top-20 placing at Royal St George’s.
Simon Dyson – 25th in the Scottish Open then ninth in the Open Championship, Dyson is coming back onto form. He’s not a flare player, but every department of his game is solid and he makes few mistakes. If some putts drop for the Englishman he could contend this week.
Richard Finch – His final round of 69 in Sweden was absolutely superb given the extremely challenging conditions. If he can carry that form over to this week he’ll be laughing. He’s a former winner of this tournament. He famously fell in the river on the 72nd hole at Adare Manor in 2008 playing a shot from its bank.
Key hole: 16th. A par 5 of just 519 yards, this is a hole where the players will be looking to make up shots. Depending on the wind, it should be reachable in two for the whole field so anything less than a birdie will feel like a disappointment here.
Competition: Win a TaylorMade R11 driver