Big names confirmed for Irish Open make it a top event on Tour

SportBy Karl Doyle
Martin Kaymer
Martin Kaymer

The recent additions announced for the upcoming Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down have elevated the tournament up the ranks in terms of European Tour events.

Reigning US Open Champion and Ryder Cup hero Martin Kaymer, fellow former World Number One Luke Donald and American Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed have all added their names to a truly international field for the tournament, which takes place from May 28-31.

The fact that it is this year being hosted by the Rory Foundation – Rory McIlroy’s charitable organisation – surely has something to do with the superstar names that will be dropping into the Co Down venue for the big event.

Kaymer, two-time Major Champion and winner of the Players’ Championship on the US PGA Tour in 2014, is anticipating the Irish Open ‘buzz’ at Royal County Down, and credits McIlroy with promoting the tournament among his peers.

He said: “There is definitely a good feeling about this year’s Irish Open and I think Rory has done a great job to get such a great field for the event and to create a really nice atmosphere about the tournament. He is very passionate about the tournament, and also the golf course at Royal County Down, so I am sure it will be a great week.”

The addition of two ex-World Number Ones in Kaymer and Donald, along with former WGC-Cadillac Championship winner Reed, will further enhance the strongest field assembled for the event, when at least five of the top 20 players in the world will battle it out over one of golf’s most famous links courses.

The field now includes five current or former players who have reached the pinnacle of the World Ranking  –  current Number One Rory McIlroy, Donald, Ernie Els, Kaymer  and Lee Westwood –  and eight Major Champions in McIlroy, Els, Kaymer, Darren Clarke,  Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell, Paul Lawrie and José Maria Olazábal.

Between them, those eight players have shared no fewer than 16 Major titles. The event now carries the most Official World Golf Ranking points since its inception while the holders of three of the four ‘Grand Slam’ tournaments will be in the field – Kaymer (US Open) and McIlroy (The Open and US PGA).

The importance of the event on The Race to Dubai schedule is further signified by the presence of seven current or former European Number Ones – Donald, Els, Harrington, Kaymer, McIlroy, Westwood and Robert Karlsson.

More than 80,000 spectators are expected and tens of thousands of tickets have already been sold for the event, which is supported by Tourism Northern Ireland.

Advance tickets to the event are currently available at £30 per day with season tickets available for £75. Families will be delighted to hear that under-16s will be admitted FREE as long as they are accompanied by an adult (up to four children are allowed with one paying adult).

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