Paul Dunne is hoping to become the latest home winner of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation when he returns to the Rolex Series event, which he regards as important as any of the four Major Championships.
The Wicklow player burst onto the global golf scene in 2015 when he shared the lead heading into the final round of The Open Championship at St Andrews, and he has been living up to the billing as Ireland’s next golfing star having claimed his maiden victory in just his second season on the European Tour.
Now the 25 year old is hoping to add to his British Masters supported by Sky Sports title by claiming a glorious home triumph when the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open – the fourth Rolex Series event of the European Tour’s 2018 Race to Dubai – is played at Ballyliffin Golf Club for the first time from July 5-8.
Should he win in County Donegal, Dunne would join an illustrious list of home winners. Rory McIlroy became the eighth Irishman to claim the title when he stormed to a spectacular victory in 2016, while Shane Lowry’s emotional triumph as a young amateur in 2009 will also live long in the memory.
Two years prior to that, Padraig Harrington had bridged a 25-year gap when he emerged victorious from a sudden-death play-off for a success which proved a pre-cursor for a famous maiden Major win at The 2007 Open Championship in Carnoustie.
Dunne is now determined to get his hands on the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open trophy and put his name alongside some of the greats of Irish golf.
“The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is the tournament we look forward to the most,” said Dunne. “To win it would be right up there with the four Majors for me personally.
“I think Ballyliffin will be a great test of a venue this year. It’s always good to play in front of the home crowd and the support is always incredible. They always keep you in it and they provide a nice buzz.
“It’s going to be another great week and hopefully the weather holds up nicely. If I can give myself chances over the next few years to win it I would be delighted. Hopefully this year gives me one of those chances, but we’ll see.”
If Dunne is to earn a second European Tour victory in just under a month’s time, he will have to overcome a star-studded field which includes the defending Champion Jon Rahm of Spain, the tournament host McIlroy and his fellow 2016 Ryder Cup players Rafa Cabrera Bello, Matt Fitzpatrick, Danny Willett and Chris Wood.
Tickets for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation are on sale at www.europeantour.com/tickets and begin at €20 for Pro-Am Wednesday, with tickets for Thursday and Friday costing€32 and day tickets for the weekend costing €34 each. An adult season souvenir ticket, which covers five days of world class golf from Wednesday to Sunday, costs just €110.
Concessions are available for customers aged over 60 and between 14 and 17, while children up to 13 are permitted free entry when accompanied by a ticket holding adult.
Fans will also be treated to a festival of music as country star Nathan Carter headlines the ‘Glashedy Sessions’ on the Friday night of the tournament. A host of exciting local bands will also entertain the crowds at the Glashedy Stage, including popular four-piece the Logues and regular favourites the Groove Robbers.
Official Hospitality tickets are also available on the ticketing page, or alternatively contact the European Tour’s dedicated Hospitality Sales Team, who will be happy to answer any queries and discuss the various hospitality options, on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 1344 840681.
About the European Tour
The European Tour celebrates men’s professional golf on a global stage. In 2018, the European Tour International Schedule will feature a minimum of 47 tournaments in 30 countries, including eight Rolex Series events, all part of the Race to Dubai.
Celebrating the global connectivity of the European Tour and Dubai, the Race to Dubai is a season-long competition to crown the European Tour’s Number One player, an honour which in 2017 went to England’s Tommy Fleetwood for the first time, and which, since 2009, has also been achieved three times by Rory McIlroy, twice by Henrik Stenson, and once each by Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald.
Since its formation in 1972, the European Tour has witnessed 27 Members celebrate a total of 53 Major Championship titles between them, enjoyed ten Members attaining the pinnacle of World Number One and has celebrated its diversity as players from 36 different countries have won on the Tour.
The European Tour also manages the Challenge Tour, which featured 27 tournaments in 21 countries in 2017, and the Senior Tour, which featured 16 tournaments in 12 countries in 2017 and which, from the 2018 season onwards, will be known as the Staysure Tour. It is also the Managing Partner of Ryder Cup Europe, the body which, alongside the PGA of America, administers golf’s greatest team contest, The Ryder Cup. In 2018, the 42nd staging of the biennial contest between Europe and the United States of America will take place at Le Golf National, France, from September 28-30.
The European Tour broadcasts live coverage of its tournaments to more than 490 million homes in more than 150 countries every week, generating in excess of 2,200 global broadcast hours for each event. It also enjoys the support of many of the world’s leading business brands with Rolex, BMW, Emirates, Hilton and Titleist as Official Partners.
About the Rolex Series
The Rolex Series is the premium tournament category on the European Tour’s International Schedule, comprising eight events in 2018, staged in a variety of golfing locations around the world, each with a minimum prize fund of US$7 million.
Launched in 2017, the Rolex Series showcases innovation, enhanced broadcast and digital coverage, and world class players, with the list of champions in the first year comprising: Alex Noren (Sweden), Tommy Fleetwood (England), two-time winner Jon Rahm (Spain), Rafa Cabrera Bello (Spain), Tyrrell Hatton (England), Justin Rose (England) and Branden Grace (South Africa).
The 2018 roster of Rolex Series tournaments is: the BMW PGA Championship (May 24-27); the Italian Open (May 31-June 3), HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1); the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation (July 5-8); the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15); the Turkish Airlines Open (November 1-4); the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player (November 8-11); and the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai (November 15-18), where the leading golfer on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex will be crowned.