Tommy Fleetwood will skip this year’s Scottish Open in favour of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in a boost for organisers ahead of the July event at Mount Juliet.
The Ryder Cup star has worked his schedule to avoid playing the week before Majors this year, meaning The Renaissance Club’s loss will be Ireland’s gain with the world number 19 confirming he will join the likes of Shane Lowry and host Graeme McDowell in Kilkenny from July 1-4.
“I’m trying to have a week off before every major and then play the week before that,” said Fleetwood, who posted a second round 67 to renew his chances heading into the weekend at the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship. “It’s difficult as you have so many great events in the summer and I clearly enjoyed The Renaissance as well, playing great there.
“Staying on site was amazing and, you know, it was actually my best event of the year. So, if the Scottish Open was two weeks before and the Irish Open was the week before, it would be the other way around, but I am playing the Irish Open.”
Fleetwood, who recently turned 30, continues to chase an elusive first Major having been blown by Shane Lowry in the final group at The Open at Portrush in 2019. In his pursuit of joining golf’s long list of Major winner’s, Fleetwood hopes his continued consistency and slight tweak of his scheduling might just prove the trick ahead of a busy year for golf.
“I didn’t really look at the schedule and go, oh, I love these courses or I want to play here or I want to do that,” he added. “No matter how you choose to do it, you just have to back yourself to play well every week that you play. I’ve done it that way this year, and we’ll see how that goes. It’s down to me, really.”
Mount Juliet Estate, the luxury five-star resort in County Kilkenny, will welcome Fleetwood and co this summer in a historic year for the championship golf course, as it will be celebrating its 30th anniversary. Over the past 30 years, the Jack Nicklaus Signature Design course at Mount Juliet Estate has held an esteemed position across the Irish golfing landscape, hosting a series of prestigious, international golf events since in 1993, when Mount Juliet Estate first held the Irish Open and again in 1994 and 1995 – won by Sir Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer and Sam Torrance, respectively.
In 1997, Mount Juliet Estate played host to Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf, a challenge match between Tom Watson and Fred Couples, won by the latter. In 2002 and 2004, the famous parkland course again hosted the world’s best players for the WGC-American Express Championship. Tiger Woods emerged victorious in 2002, beating Retief Goosen – who shares the Mount Juliet Estate course record with Sergio Garcia – by one stroke, while Ernie Els claimed the 2004 trophy, overcoming another European Tour legend in Thomas Bjørn by one shot.