Lowry proposes new date for Irish Open in bid to attract top players

While some of Europe’s biggest names will be in Lahinch next week, none of the top Americans are travelling over.

SHANE LOWRY SUGGESTS the Irish Open must be moved to later in the European Tour’s schedule if it is to attract the highest calibre of field possible, given none of the top American golfers are travelling to Lahinch next week.

While the likes of Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood and Louis Oosthuizen are joining the home favourites at the County Clare links, many of the world’s leading players are using next month’s Scottish Open as their precursor to the Open at Portrush.

Shane Lowry coming off the 18th green Lowry during last year's Irish Open at Ballyliffin. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Although the Irish Open is now part of the lucrative Rolex Series on the European Tour, meaning it offers a prize fund of €6 million, the timing of the event makes it difficult for organisers to entice the top players over.

Speaking ahead of his trip to Lahinch, Lowry believes the Irish Open should be moved to a September date, to fit in alongside the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

“I personally think the Irish Open should be moved to a different date,” he says. “I think the best date would be around Wentworth in September and then you might get a good field because you have three big tournaments in a row with the Dunhill Links afterwards as well.”

Asked if he was surprised that more Americans weren’t coming over to play at Lahinch, considering the proximity of the Open at Portrush, Lowry continued: “Being completely honest, not really. Similar for us with the US Open, we don’t go over three weeks before.

“We don’t go over to play two tournaments in the run up to the US Open. The ideal date is Scotland the week before. 

The Americans, especially the top, top players, they don’t want to know anything about three weeks of links golf. Bad weather, they just don’t like that so not really surprised. It’s just the date, it [the Irish Open] just doesn’t have the date.

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The Scottish Open, traditionally played a week out from the Open, always attracts a quality field, regardless of where it’s played. 

“The week of the Scottish Open, that is not the best course in the world this year, but if some of the [American] guys want to come over and play and get used to playing links golf, that’s the tournament you would play and lead that into the Open.

“I don’t think playing the Irish Open and then taking a week off is the right way to go about it. If I was American, that’s the way I’d be doing it too.”

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Ryan Bailey

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