Lee Westwood, Danny Willett and Shane Lowry have all been confirmed to play the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Lahinch this July.
The trio are the most recent Rolex Series winners join the recently confirmed Tommy Fleetwood on the list of players confirmed for the European Tour event which will be hosted by Paul McGinley. The Clare Echo reported last weekend that Lee Westwood would be heading for Lahinch in July.
Former World Number One Westwood and the 2016 Masters Champion Willett both enjoyed hugely successful finishes to their 2018 campaigns. Westwood claimed his maiden Rolex Series title, and his 24th European Tour title overall, at the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player after four years out of the winner’s circle.
Willett, meanwhile, completed a comeback from injury and lack of form at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai last November as he sealed his first win since famously earning the Green Jacket in 2016. The thirty year old has finished inside the top ten four times in his last six appearances in The Irish Open.
Both players, alongside the recently-confirmed Tommy Fleetwood, will be hoping to become the first English winners of the event since Paul Casey emerged victorious at Carton House Golf Club in 2013.
Westhood said he is “really looking forward to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open this year”. “Lahinch is somewhere I’ve never played, although I’ve heard a lot about it, how good it is. It’s obviously a good links course and with The Open coming up a couple of weeks after it, it will be good preparation. I’ve won a couple of times in Ireland but I’ve never won the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open so it would be nice to put that tournament on my list of achievements. It’s nice when you go back to these Rolex Series events too and your caddie has a gold bib for winning one”.
For him playing in Clare, is a way of showing support for McGinley. “It’s nice for the players to support Paul. He’s well-respected and is obviously a former Ryder Cup Captain, I played under him at Gleneagles so hopefully he’ll get a strong field and the people will support him.”
Willett who has not seen Lahinch has only heard positive reports. “From what I’ve heard, they’ve chosen a beautiful golf course down there in Lahinch and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open kick-started my year last year a little bit. There was loads of support and it’s a fantastic place to be. To be down in Lahinch and then a couple of weeks later up at Portrush, we’re going to have a few fantastic weeks there with crowds that know golf, know the game and I know they’ll come out in force. It’s worked in the past for me to play links courses before The Open and you often get a lot of Americans coming over to acclimatise. We’re travelling around trying to chase the sun and it’s nice to go a play a true links golf course.
“You can imagine Paul will have dotted all the Is and crossed all the Ts, and it will be well-organised. Rory has hosted for a number of years now and he’s done an amazing job but I think it’s difficult to play while hosting. It was a nice time for someone to take over and it’s great for Paul to take the reigns now, and then switch it with different people in different years,” Danny added.