Cape Town - Rory
McIlroy is relishing the opportunity to bring the Irish Open to a spectacular new venue when the four-time
Major winner heads a world-class field at Ballyliffin Golf Club, from July 5-8.
fourth Rolex Series event of the 2018 season will visit Ballyliffin's Glashedy
Links for the first time in its long history this summer and the County Donegal
crowds are expected to turn out in force as Spain's Jon Rahm defends his title.
is sure to be the big draw once again though, as the Northern Irishman hosts
the event for the fourth time before the hosting of the tournament changes to a
rotation of the island’s greatest modern golfing heroes – with Paul McGinley,
Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell joining McIlroy on the
2016 champion and world No 7 is extremely proud of his victory two
years ago and he is excited to take on the stunning Ballyliffin links in three
obviously love the Irish Open," said the 28-year-old. "One of
my career highlights is winning at the K Club in 2016 and I’d love to go back
to Ballyliffin this year and lift that trophy again.
enjoyed my time up in Ballyliffin, I've played quite a lot there as an amateur
and I think it’s a great venue for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. It's pure
links, and I think people will really enjoy it.
one of the toughest links courses in the world. It's really well designed, it's
a beautiful course and Donegal is just a beautiful area."
for the proudest achievements of McIlroy's career has been his role in the
revival of the Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation.
changing the date on the European Tour's International Schedule, securing the
national open's place in the Rolex Series - significantly increasing the prize
fund - and, most importantly, introducing a charitable component to the week, the
Northern Irishman has helped elevate the tournament to historical new heights.
with the Rory Foundation, who support children's charities, big and small,
around the world, the Irish Open has made a positive impact in
many lives, including McIlroy's.
been fantastic, and we've been able to raise a lot of money for charity with
our involvement," he said. "That was one of the biggest keys for me, and why I
wanted to get involved - because I wanted it to be bigger than myself. I wanted
it to impact more people. For it to help so many other people with my
involvement, that’s what has meant a lot."
McIlroy will aim to win his second Irish Open title, he knows
that the fans who attend the event will make it a special week regardless of
how he plays.
great to be able to play in front of people that maybe watched you play as an
amateur and watched you grow up," he said. "It's very nice to come back and
play in front of those people. They appreciate not just what you've done as a
player but hopefully they appreciate what we've tried to do for the tournament
as well. It's always nice to go back and hopefully I can give them
something to cheer about."
year, world No 4 Rahm - who has already confirmed he will defend his title
this year - dominated the field, finishing on 24 under par and winning by six
shots at Portstewart Golf Club in Northern Ireland.
The Irish Open continues to
shine as one of the eight tournaments which form the prestigious Rolex Series -
the premium category of tournaments on the European Tour’s International
Schedule, all with a minimum prize fund of $7 million.