Irish Open (golf)

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Irish Open
Irish Open Logo 2014.jpg
Tournament information
Location Ireland – varies; in 2019:
Lahinch, Republic of Ireland
Established 1927, 92 years ago
Course(s) Lahinch Golf Club
(Old Course)
Par 70
Length 7,036 yards (6,434 m)
Tour(s) European Tour
Format Stroke play
Prize fund $7 million
Month played July
Tournament record score
Aggregate 264 Jon Rahm (2017)
264 Jon Rahm (2019)
To par −24 Jon Rahm (2017)
Current champion
Spain Jon Rahm

The Irish Open (Irish: Comórtas Oscailte na hÉireann[1]) is a professional golf tournament on the European Tour. The title sponsor is currently Dubai Duty Free.

The Irish Open was first played in 1927 and was played annually, except for the war years, until 1950. There was a tournament in 1953, but the event was then not played again until revived in 1975. It has been contested annually since then. From 1963 to 1974 Carroll's sponsored a tournament, generally called the Carroll's International and in 1975 they became the sponsor of the Irish Open which became known as the Carroll's Irish Open.

The Irish Open is one of the European Tour Rolex Series events. The Rolex Series started in 2017, with each tournament in the series having a minimum prize fund of $7 million. The date was moved to early July, two weeks before the Open Championship.

Since 2014 (except in 2016), it has been one of the Open Qualifying Series with the leading three players who have not already qualified and who finish in the top ten, qualifying for the Open Championship.


Venue County Province First Last Times
Pormarnock Dublin Leinster 1927 2003 19
Royal County Down Down Ulster 1928 2015 4
Royal Portrush Antrim Ulster 1930 2012 4
Royal Dublin Dublin Leinster 1931 1985 6
Cork Cork Munster 1932 1932 1
Malone Antrim Ulster 1933 1933 1
Belvoir Park Antrim Ulster 1949 1953 2
Woodbrook Wicklow Leinster 1975 1975 1
Killarney Kerry Munster 1991 2011 4
Mount Juliet Kilkenny Leinster 1993 2020 4
Druids Glen Wicklow Leinster 1996 1999 4
Ballybunion Kerry Munster 2000 2000 1
Fota Island Resort Cork Munster 2001 2014 3
County Louth Louth Leinster 2004 2009 2
Carton House Kildare Leinster 2005 2013 3
Adare Manor Limerick Munster 2007 2008 2
The K Club Kildare Leinster 2016 2016 1
Portstewart Londonderry Ulster 2017 2017 1
Ballyliffin Donegal Ulster 2018 2018 1
Lahinch Clare Munster 2019 2019 1
  • Connacht province has never hosted the event


Pub window art in Lahinch for the 2019 Irish Open

The first Irish Open in 1927 was played at Portmarnock Golf Club from 16 to 18 August. There were 18 holes played on the first two days with the leading 60 players and ties playing a further 36 holes on the final day. In a stiff breeze local professional Willie Nolan led after the first day with a course record 72.[2] On the second day Nolan faded after an 83 and the lead was taken by Henry Cotton on 146 with Jack Smith a shot behind. The cut was 165 and exactly 60 players qualified, including 6 amateurs.[3] Conditions were very poor on the final day with the refreshment and press tents blown down and rain falling in torrents. Jack Smith had an excellent 77 in the morning and with Henry Cotton taking 86, Smith had an eight-shot lead over Cotton and Archie Compston. Smith, however, went to pieces and had a final round of 91 and was overtaken by Cotton, who took 81. George Duncan, starting the final round 14 shots behind, scored 74 and finished with a total of 312, beating Smith by three and Cotton by one. Duncan's score of 74 was remarkable in that it was only two strokes over the new course record, on a day when his 74 and Smith's 77 in the morning were the only two rounds under 80 on the final day. Duncan took the Championship Gold Medal and the first prize of £150. Nolan was the leading Irishman, finishing fifth.[4]

After Duncan's win in 1927, the event was dominated by English golfers, the only other non-English winner before World War II being Bobby Locke in 1938. Ernest Whitcombe won in 1928, the first of four wins by the Whitcombe brothers; Ernest won again in 1935 while Charles won in 1930 and Reg won in 1936. Ernest Whitcombe had rounds of 68 and 69 on the first two days of the 1928 event, to take a seven stroke lead. Rounds of 73 and 78 on the final day were enough to give him a four stroke victory.[5] The 1929 championship was played again at Portmarnock and resulted in a three-way tie on 309, just 3 strokes better than Duncan's score there in 1927.[6] There was a 36-hole playoff the following day. Abe Mitchell and Archie Compston were level after the first round on 75 with Len Holland five behind. Mitchell scored another 75 in the afternoon to win by two strokes from Compston and ten from Holland.[7] Charles Whitcombe dominated the 1930 tournament, winning by 8 strokes from defending champion Abe Mitchell. Whitcombe led by four after the first two rounds and full away further on the final day.[8] the 1931 championship was won by a relative unknown, Bob Kenyon, who won by two after a final round 70. Five players tied for second place, including Ernest Whitcombe who finished with a course-record 66 on the Royal Dublin links.[9]

Alf Padgham won in 1932 with steady rounds of 71-71-71-70, one ahead of Bill Davies.[10] Bob Kenyon won for the second time in 1933. Defending champion Padgham had led after two rounds but had a disappointing third round 76 and finished runner-up, two behind.[11] Syd Easterbrook won at Portmarnock in 1934 with a total of 284, 25 better than the winning score there in 1929, to win by 7 strokes from the Irish amateur, Joe Brown, who.recorded the best finish by an Irish golfer at that time.[12] Two of the Whitcombe brothers, Ernest and Reg, tied in 1935. Bob Kenyon had a good chance to win for the third time but had 5s at the last two holes to finish a shot behind.[13] In the playoff Reg had a bad start, taking 7 at the first hole. He recovered to be level early in the second round but had another 7 and Ernest eventually won by three strokes.[14]

In 1932 and 1933, the Irish Open was preceded by an international match between teams of English and Irish professionals. England won the first match 16–2 and the second match 13–3 with two halves.[15][16] The matches followed the same form as the England–Scotland Professional Match that had been played just before the Open Championship.

After his playoff loss in 1935, Reg Whitcombe won in 1936, two ahead of Bill Davies who was a runner-up for the third time. Whitcombe had final day rounds of 68 and 69 for a record low total of 281.[17] Jimmy Adams seemed the likely winner at Royal Portrush in 1937 after finishing on 285. However Bert Gadd finished with two 3s (eagle-birdie) to win by a shot.[18] 20-year-old Bobby Locke, who had recently turned professional, broke the run of English winners in 1938. Henry Cotton had seemed the likely winner but finished 4-5-5-5 while Locke finished 2-4-4-4 and finished a stroke behind.[19] Arthur Lees won in 1939 with a total 287 with Reg Whitcombe two behind. 19-year-old Irish amateur Jimmy Bruen led after two rounds but scored 75 and 81 on the final day to drop into 6th place, leading amateur for the third successive year.[20]

When the event resumed at Portmarnock in 1946, Fred Daly became the first Irish winner. The tournament turned in a contest between Daly and Bobby Locke, Daly eventually winning by 4 strokes. No one else was within 10 shots of Daly.[21] There was a second Irish winner at Royal Portrush in 1947 when Harry Bradshaw won the title, two ahead of Flory Van Donck. Max Faulkner led after three rounds but a final round 76 dropped him down to third place.[22] Dai Rees won in 1948, his total of 295 being two better than Norman Von Nida. Faulkner again led after three round but a 77 left him tied for third place.[23] Bradshaw won for a second time at Belvoir Park in 1949. Bobby Locke came close to matching him but finished a stroke behind.[24] The 1950 tournament was won by the Australian Ossie Pickworth, two ahead of John Panton and Norman Von Nida.[25]

The event was not held in 1951 or 1952 but was held again in 1953 at Belvoir Park. Eric Brown won with a score of 272, a stroke ahead of Harry Weetman. 22-year-old Peter Alliss had taken an early clubhouse lead on 274 but was eventually beaten by Weetman and then Brown, finishing in third place.[26] After 1953 the event was not played again until it was revived in 1975. From 1963 to 1974 Carroll's sponsored a tournament, generally called the Carroll's International, which had been a European Tour event since the tour started in 1972. For the 1975 European Tour season the Carroll's International tournament was dropped and Carroll's became the sponsor of the Irish Open, which took its place on the tour.

The 1975 Irish Open was held at Woodbrook Golf Club, which had hosted the Carroll's International events since 1967. Christy O'Connor Jnr became the third Irish winner, finishing one ahead of Harry Bannerman, and took the first prize of £5,000.[27]

Tournament notes

The Irish Open has been played at a variety of dates from mid-May to the end of August, but since the start of the Rolex series in 2017 it has been held in early July, two weeks before the Open Championship.

The tournament enjoys one of the largest galleries on the European Tour. In 2010, the Irish Open at Killarney Golf & Fishing Club had an attendance of 85,179 over four days, second only to the BMW PGA Championship. In 2011, Killarney Golf & Fishing Club tallied in excess of 86,500 over four days. This was again the second highest on the European Tour to the BMW PGA Championship. In 2012, Royal Portrush Golf Club had a record attendance of 112,000 over four days; 131,000 over the six days. This was the only time a European Tour event had sold out prior to play on all four days and was the highest attendance ever recorded on the European Tour.

Since 2008, it has been the only European Tour event played in Ireland. The European Open was held at the K Club in Straffan for thirteen years from 1995 to 2007 while the 2007 Seve Trophy and the 2006 Ryder Cup were the last important men's professional team competitions played in Ireland.

Recent sponsorship

Following the departure of Nissan as title sponsor in 2006, Adare Golf Club, part of the Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort in County Limerick, had planned to host the tournament for three years, from 2007 to 2009. After two years, it was announced in January 2009 that they could no longer sustain the losses incurred by hosting the event for a third year. In early March, the European Tour confirmed the national championship would return to County Louth Golf Club, Baltray, which had last hosted in 2004, with a new sponsor, 3 Mobile.[28]

Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority of the Republic of Ireland, agreed to sponsor in 2011, but with a reduced purse, cut in half to €1.5 million.[29] In 2015 the event was sponsored by Dubai Duty Free in conjunction with the Rory Foundation. In October 2015, it was announced that Dubai Duty Free had extended their sponsorship to 2018 along with the Rory Foundation.[30] In May 2018, it was announced that Dubai Duty Free would extend their sponsorship to 2022.


European Tour event (1975–)
Year Winner Country Venue Score To par Margin
of victory
Runner(s)-up Winner's
share ()
Dubai Duty Free Irish Open
2019 Jon Rahm (2)  Spain Lahinch 264 −16 2 strokes England Andy Sullivan
Austria Bernd Wiesberger
Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation
2018 Russell Knox  Scotland Ballyliffin 274 −14 Playoff New Zealand Ryan Fox 998,425
2017 Jon Rahm  Spain Portstewart 264 −24 6 strokes Scotland Richie Ramsay
England Matthew Southgate
2016 Rory McIlroy  Northern Ireland The K Club 276 −12 3 strokes Wales Bradley Dredge
Scotland Russell Knox
2015 Søren Kjeldsen  Denmark Royal County Down 282 −2 Playoff England Eddie Pepperell
Austria Bernd Wiesberger
The Irish Open
2014 Mikko Ilonen  Finland Fota Island 271 −13 1 stroke Italy Edoardo Molinari 333,330
2013 Paul Casey  England Carton House 274 −14 3 strokes Netherlands Joost Luiten
England Robert Rock
2012 Jamie Donaldson  Wales Royal Portrush 270 −18 4 strokes Spain Rafael Cabrera-Bello
England Anthony Wall
Paraguay Fabrizio Zanotti
Irish Open presented by Discover Ireland
2011 Simon Dyson  England Killarney 269 −15 1 stroke Australia Richard Green 250,000
The 3 Irish Open
2010 Ross Fisher  England Killarney 266 −18 2 strokes Republic of Ireland Pádraig Harrington 500,000
2009 Shane Lowry (a)  Ireland County Louth 271 −17 Playoff England Robert Rock 500,000*
Irish Open
2008 Richard Finch  England Adare 278 −10 2 strokes Chile Felipe Aguilar 416,600
2007 Pádraig Harrington  Ireland Adare 283 −5 Playoff Wales Bradley Dredge 416,600
Nissan Irish Open
2006 Thomas Bjørn  Denmark Carton House 283 −5 1 stroke England Paul Casey 366,660
2005 Stephen Dodd  Wales Carton House 279 −9 Playoff England David Howell 333,330
2004 Brett Rumford  Australia County Louth 274 −14 4 strokes Republic of Ireland Pádraig Harrington
France Raphaël Jacquelin
2003 Michael Campbell  New Zealand Portmarnock 277 −11 Playoff Denmark Thomas Bjørn
Sweden Peter Hedblom
Murphy's Irish Open
2002 Søren Hansen  Denmark Fota Island 270 −14 Playoff England Richard Bland
Sweden Niclas Fasth
South Africa Darren Fichardt
2001 Colin Montgomerie (3)  Scotland Fota Island 266 −18 5 strokes Northern Ireland Darren Clarke
Sweden Niclas Fasth
Republic of Ireland Pádraig Harrington
2000 Patrik Sjöland  Sweden Ballybunion 270 −14 2 strokes Sweden Fredrik Jacobson 267,319
1999 Sergio García  Spain Druids Glen 268 −16 3 strokes Argentina Ángel Cabrera 233,320
1998 David Carter  England Druids Glen 278 −6 Playoff Scotland Colin Montgomerie 223,988
1997 Colin Montgomerie (2)  Scotland Druids Glen 269 −15 7 strokes England Lee Westwood 159,090
1996 Colin Montgomerie  Scotland Druids Glen 279 −5 1 stroke Scotland Andrew Oldcorn
Australia Wayne Riley
1995 Sam Torrance (2)  Scotland Mount Juliet 277 −11 Playoff England Stuart Cage
England Howard Clark
1994 Bernhard Langer (3)  Germany Mount Juliet 275 −13 1 stroke Australia Robert Allenby
United States John Daly
Carroll's Irish Open
1993 Nick Faldo (3)  England Mount Juliet 276 −12 Playoff Spain José María Olazábal 135,282
1992 Nick Faldo (2)  England Killarney 274 −14 Playoff South Africa Wayne Westner 106,784
1991 Nick Faldo  England Killarney 283 −5 3 strokes Scotland Colin Montgomerie 85,344
1990 José María Olazábal  Spain Portmarnock 282 −6 3 strokes United States Mark Calcavecchia
New Zealand Frank Nobilo
1989 Ian Woosnam (2)  Wales Portmarnock 278 −10 Playoff Republic of Ireland Philip Walton 61,296
1988 Ian Woosnam  Wales Portmarnock 278 −10 7 strokes England Nick Faldo
Spain José María Olazábal
Spain Manuel Piñero
Republic of Ireland Des Smyth
1987 Bernhard Langer (2)  West Germany Portmarnock 269 −19 10 strokes Scotland Sandy Lyle 50,174
1986 Seve Ballesteros (3)  Spain Portmarnock 285 −3 2 strokes Australia Rodger Davis
Zimbabwe Mark McNulty
1985 Seve Ballesteros (2)  Spain Royal Dublin 278 −10 Playoff West Germany Bernhard Langer 28,000
1984 Bernhard Langer  West Germany Royal Dublin 267 −21 4 strokes England Mark James 25,662
1983 Seve Ballesteros  Spain Royal Dublin 271 −17 2 strokes Scotland Brian Barnes 25,662
1982 John O'Leary  Ireland Portmarnock 287 −1 1 stroke England Maurice Bembridge 18,742
1981 Sam Torrance  Scotland Portmarnock 276 −12 5 strokes England Nick Faldo 18,659
1980 Mark James (2)  England Portmarnock 284 −4 1 stroke Scotland Brian Barnes 16,730
1979 Mark James  England Portmarnock 282 −6 1 stroke United States Ed Sneed 14,000
1978 Ken Brown  Scotland Portmarnock 281 −7 1 stroke Spain Seve Ballesteros
Republic of Ireland John O'Leary
1977 Hubert Green  United States Portmarnock 283 −5 1 stroke United States Ben Crenshaw 11,200
1976 Ben Crenshaw  United States Portmarnock 284 −4 2 strokes Scotland Brian Barnes
United States Billy Casper
England Martin Foster
1975 Christy O'Connor Jnr  Ireland Woodbrook 275 −21 1 stroke Scotland Harry Bannerman 7,000

(a) indicates an amateur golfer. In 2009 the winner's share was awarded to leading professional, Robert Rock.


Pre-European Tour (1927–1953)
Year Winner Country Venue Score Margin
of victory
Runner(s)-up Winner's
share (£)
Irish Open
1954–74: No tournament
1953 Eric Brown  Scotland Belvoir Park 272 1 stroke England Harry Weetman 700 [26]
1951–52: No tournament
1950 Ossie Pickworth  Australia Royal Dublin 287 2 strokes Scotland John Panton
Australia Norman Von Nida
400 [25]
1949 Harry Bradshaw (2)  Ireland Belvoir Park 286 1 stroke South Africa Bobby Locke 400 [24]
1948 Dai Rees  Wales Portmarnock 295 2 strokes Australia Norman Von Nida 400 [23]
1947 Harry Bradshaw  Ireland Royal Portrush 290 2 strokes Belgium Flory Van Donck [22]
1946 Fred Daly  Northern Ireland Portmarnock 288 4 strokes South Africa Bobby Locke [21]
1940–45: No tournament due to World War II
1939 Arthur Lees  England Royal County Down 287 2 strokes England Reg Whitcombe [20]
1938 Bobby Locke  South Africa Portmarnock 292 1 stroke England Henry Cotton 150 [19]
1937 Bert Gadd  England Royal Portrush 284 1 stroke Scotland Jimmy Adams [18]
1936 Reg Whitcombe  England Royal Dublin 281 2 strokes England Bill Davies [17]
1935 Ernest Whitcombe (2)  England Royal County Down 292 Playoff
(36 holes)
England Reg Whitcombe [13][14]
1934 Syd Easterbrook  England Portmarnock 284 7 strokes Republic of Ireland Joe Brown (a) [12]
1933 Bob Kenyon (2)  England Malone Golf Club 286 2 strokes England Alf Padgham [11]
1932 Alf Padgham  England Cork Golf Club 283 1 stroke England Bill Davies [10]
1931 Bob Kenyon  England Royal Dublin 291 2 strokes England Bill Davies
Wales Bert Hodson
England Abe Mitchell
England Mark Seymour
England Ernest Whitcombe
1930 Charles Whitcombe  England Royal Portrush 289 8 strokes England Abe Mitchell [8]
1929 Abe Mitchell  England Portmarnock 309 Playoff
(36 holes)
England Archie Compston
England Len Holland
1928 Ernest Whitcombe  England Royal County Down 288 4 strokes England Archie Compston 150 [5]
1927 George Duncan  Scotland Portmarnock 312 1 stroke England Henry Cotton 150 [33]

In the 1929 playoff Mitchell scored 150, Compston 152 and Holland 160. In the 1935 playoff Ernest Whitcombe scored 148 while Reg Whitcombe scored 151.

(a) indicates an amateur golfer

Multiple winners

Name Wins Years
Scotland Colin Montgomerie 3 1996, 1997, 2001
Germany Bernhard Langer 3 1984, 1987, 1994
England Nick Faldo 3 1991, 1992, 1993
Spain Seve Ballesteros 3 1983, 1985, 1986
Spain Jon Rahm 2 2017, 2019
Scotland Sam Torrance 2 1981, 1995
Wales Ian Woosnam 2 1988, 1989
England Mark James 2 1979, 1980
Republic of Ireland Harry Bradshaw 2 1947, 1949
England Ernest Whitcombe 2 1928, 1935
England Bob Kenyon 2 1931, 1933

Future venues


  1. ^ "Cailleadh galfaire aitheanta na hÉireann, Christy O'Connor Jnr. sa Spáinn aréir". Raidió Teilifís Éireann (in Irish). 6 January 2016.
  2. ^ "Golf - The Irish Open Championship". The Times. 17 August 1927. p. 5.
  3. ^ "Golf - The Irish Open Championship". The Times. 18 August 1927. p. 5.
  4. ^ "The Irish Open Championship - G Duncan the first holder". The Times. 19 August 1927. p. 6.
  5. ^ a b "Irish Open Golf Championship". The Glasgow Herald. 1 June 1928. p. 7.
  6. ^ a b "Irish "Open" Title". The Glasgow Herald. 12 July 1929. p. 3.
  7. ^ a b "Mitchell Wins his First Championship". The Glasgow Herald. 13 July 1929. p. 2.
  8. ^ a b "Irish Open Title". The Glasgow Herald. 7 June 1930. p. 14.
  9. ^ a b "Unknown Wins". The Glasgow Herald. 28 August 1931. p. 10.
  10. ^ a b "Padgham's Fine Victory". The Glasgow Herald. 26 August 1932. p. 3.
  11. ^ a b "Kenyon Again Wins Irish Open Championship". The Glasgow Herald. 29 July 1933. p. 17.
  12. ^ a b "Success of Syd Easterbrook". The Glasgow Herald. 20 July 1934. p. 7.
  13. ^ a b "Brothers Tie for Title". The Glasgow Herald. 26 July 1935. p. 3.
  14. ^ a b "Replayed Golf Final". The Glasgow Herald. 27 July 1935. p. 4.
  15. ^ "International at Cork". The Glasgow Herald. 23 August 1932. p. 3.
  16. ^ "England beat Ireland". The Glasgow Herald. 26 July 1933. p. 6.
  17. ^ a b "Record Round in Irish "Open"". The Glasgow Herald. 17 July 1936. p. 19.
  18. ^ a b "Gadd's Winning Round". The Glasgow Herald. 30 July 1937. p. 6.
  19. ^ a b "Locke Comes From Behind To Win Irish "Open"". The Glasgow Herald. 22 July 1938. p. 4.
  20. ^ a b "Arthur Lees Wins His First Big Tournament". The Glasgow Herald. 21 July 1939. p. 19.
  21. ^ a b "Daly Wins Irish Golf Title". The Glasgow Herald. 19 July 1946. p. 7.
  22. ^ a b "Bradshaw Wins Irish Open Golf Title". The Glasgow Herald. 11 July 1947. p. 6.
  23. ^ a b "Rees Gains First National Title". The Glasgow Herald. 10 July 1948. p. 6.
  24. ^ a b "Bradshaw Wins Irish Open Title". The Glasgow Herald. 30 July 1949. p. 2.
  25. ^ a b "Pickworth Wins Irish "Open"". The Glasgow Herald. 15 July 1950. p. 2.
  26. ^ a b "Irish Title for Brown". The Glasgow Herald. 1 August 1953. p. 2.
  27. ^ "Irish Open 1975". Irish Golf Desk. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  28. ^ "Irish Open prize money increased". BBC Sport. 4 March 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2009.
  29. ^ "Purse is down but Rory will be there". Irish Times. 29 June 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  30. ^ "Dubai Duty Free extends Irish Open sponsorship until 2018". PGA European Tour. 12 October 2015.
  31. ^ "Irish Open: Tournament History". European Tour. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  32. ^ "The Irish Open". Irish Golf Desk. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  33. ^ "Irish Open". The Glasgow Herald. 19 August 1927. p. 11.

External links

  • Official website
  • Coverage on the European Tour's official site

Coordinates: 55°17′33″N 7°22′23″W / 55.2924°N 7.3731°W / 55.2924; -7.3731

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