There may be no amateurs in the field for the 2017 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open but three Irish players have got the nod today to tee it up in Portstewart next month for the $7m Rolex Series event.
Team Ireland grant recipients Dermot McElroy and Gavin Moynihan have been award invitations as well as five-time European Tour winner Michael Hoey.
A very happy Moynihan took to twitter
Also added today are Ryder Cup stars Thomas Pieters and Ian Poulter along with fan favourite Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston.
World Number 26 Pieters of Belgium made a huge impression on his Ryder Cup debut at Hazeltine National last year despite Europe’s defeat, while Poulter has become one of the greats of the modern Ryder Cup era.
Johnston, meanwhile, rose to fame last year winning the Open de España at Real Clube Valderrama and has since become one of the biggest crowd-pleasers in the game thanks to his sense of humour and unassuming demeanour.
Tournament host Rory McIlroy will return home to defend the title he claimed in such swashbuckling style last year, while Hideki Matsuyama will make his regular European Tour debut having finished joint runner-up at last week’s U.S. Open Championship.
Home-grown Major winners Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell will return for their national championship as will Shane Lowry, who won this tournament as an amateur in 2009, and rising star Paul Dunne.
Of the remarkable field gathering for the third of eight Rolex Series events, McIlroy said: “This is certainly one of the strongest fields I’ve ever seen for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, if not the strongest. It’s really shaping up for an incredible week.
“Everybody knows how special this tournament is to me, and to return to Northern Ireland as defending champion, with my Foundation again hosting the event, is real honour.
“The Northern Irish fans are renowned the world over for their great support. The last two tournaments here in 2012 and 2015 were both sell-outs and the atmosphere was something else. I expect it to be the same this time with a field of this depth and such a great venue at Portstewart. So, those who haven’t got tickets yet should really do so before it’s too late.”
Tickets to see McIlroy, Matsuyama and the numerous other superstars at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation are on sale at www.dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com, and begin at £15 for Family Tuesday, £20 for Pro-Am Wednesday, with tickets for Thursday and Friday costing £40 and day tickets for the weekend costing £45.
An adult season souvenir ticket, which covers six days of world class golf from Tuesday to Sunday, costs just £100 (a saving of £105 over the course of the six days).
Concessions are available for customers aged over 60 and between 16 and 21, while children under 16 are permitted free entry when accompanied by a ticket holding adult.
To get a full seated view of all of the drama at the 18th green, grandstand tickets cost an additional £11.50 for Thursday and Friday, and £16.50 for Saturday while Sunday grandstand tickets are now sold out.