Mount Juliet Estate, the luxury five-star resort in County Kilkenny, has been announced as the host venue for the 2020 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, the second Rolex Series event of the 2020 Race to Dubai which takes place from May 28-31.
It is the first time in 25 years that Mount Juliet will host the Irish Open, having provided the backdrop for the island of Ireland’s national open in 1993, 1994 and 1995 – won by Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer and Sam Torrance, respectively.
The Jack Nicklaus Signature Course at Mount Juliet has a prestigious history in hosting major golf events and producing world-class champions, beginning with those three editions of the Irish Open. In 2002 and 2004, the parkland course hosted the WGC-American Express Championship. Tiger Woods won in 2002, beating Retief Goosen by one stroke, while Ernie Els claimed the 2004 edition, overcoming Thomas Bjørn by one shot.
Last July’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open became the first to sell out at the weekend since Royal Portrush hosted the event in 2012, and similar crowds are expected at Mount Juliet.
Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, said: “We are very pleased that the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will be held at Mount Juliet in 2020. The estate, on the outskirts of Kilkenny, will be an easily accessible and exciting venue for both the players and the fans.
“We are pleased with the growth of the tournament since Dubai Duty Free became involved in 2015, and the fact that it is now part of the Rolex Series with a prize fund of US$7 million. We also agree with the strategy, which both the European Tour and the previous hosts, Rory McIlroy and Paul McGinley have employed of moving the tournament around the island of Ireland to include north and south, links and parkland and this has been very successful.
“It has had a very positive affect on tourism and business in these regions, which is testament to the interest that the public have in this tournament. Mount Juliet is a fantastic venue and is well known as an excellent ‘spectator course’, as it offers fans a second to none viewing experience.”
Damien Gaffney, Director of Tetrarch, owners of Mount Juliet, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will be returning to Mount Juliet after a gap of 25 years. We made a commitment to the staff and to the members when we bought the estate, that we would do our best to bring the tournament back. We’ve worked very closely with the European Tour in recent months and we’re thrilled to be finally announced as hosts for the event.”
Keith Pelley, the Chief Executive of the European Tour, said: “We are thrilled to bring the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open to Mount Juliet , a venue which boasts a world-class golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus, and a history of hosting prestigious tournaments. Our second Rolex Series event of the 2020 season is sure to be another spectacular occasion, following the success of last year’s edition at Lahinch, which epitomised the growth of this tournament since Dubai Duty Free came on board as title sponsors in 2015.
“After an incredible year for golf on the island of Ireland in 2019, which included our announcement of the return of the Ryder Cup to Irish soil in 2026, we look forward to the 2020 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open kicking off another spectacular summer of success for Irish golf fans.”