Preview: 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open runs July 5-8, 2018, in Ballyliffin. It’s the first of the championships in the British Isles, leading to the Scottish Open and the Open (or British Open, if you’re American), and eventually the Ryder Cup in France this fall. We’ve put together a preview of what you should be looking out for this year.

Ballyliffin Debut

This is the first time the Irish Open is being held at Ballyliffin Golf Club in County Donegal, but the club is no stranger to the players who frequent the European Championship, and is regarded as one of the finest links courses in Ireland. The establishment of the course dates back to the 1940s — younger than you are probably used to Irish courses boasting. The “Old Course” was completed in 1973, making it newer than most of the “old” courses in the British Isles, but still a links course par excellence.

The Glashedy Links, where this year’s Irish Open will be played, was built in 1991, and is famous for its par 3 fifth hole, known to locals as “The Tank”, as well as a third hole that offers a par 4 with a narrow fairway and sloping green. Add in the winds you would expect from the most northerly course in Ireland, plus dangerously eroding coastline, and you can bet this will be a thrilling Irish Open.

Who to Watch in the Field

While many of the stars you’re used to seeing in the United States will be busy on the PGA Tour, there are a handful of players that should be work watching during the Irish Open this year. U.S. Open winner Brooks Koepka won’t be playing this championship, but his brother Chase will be worth watching. Peter Uihlein is another American worth watching during this championship.

If you’re betting on a winner, Spain is the country to look to during this Irish open. Jon Rahm, the defending champion and currently ranked fifth in the world, will certainly be putting up a showing. Giving Rahm a run for his money is fellow Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello, who has some pretty worthy links experience, having won the Scottish Open last year, although he’s currently ranked 25th in the world.

While most of the rankings don’t give him much of a chance at winning, we have loved watching Indian player Shubhankar Sharma in the past few years. Although he’s only won two major tournaments, he’s only 21 years old and has time to finesse his game. We’d wager he’s also the only vegetarian on the field this week.

Another face to watch is crowd favorite Kiradech Aphibarnrat, affectionately known as The Barn Rat, the young Thai player who finished 15th in the Masters this year. His carefree style of play and portly comportment make him fun to watch and root for, regardless of how he finishes.

Other names to keep an eye on are Rory McIlroy, whose Rory Foundation hosts and benefits from the Irish Open, and whose last European Tour win was the Irish Open in 2016. Irish players Shane Lowry and Pádraig Harrington will be representing their home country.

Overall, we’re expecting an exciting tournament at a new venue July 5-8.

If you’d like to plan a trip to play the famous courses that have hosted the European Tour in Ireland, get in touch for a free quote!