Irish Open’s move to May confirmed by European Tour

Move will avoid a clash with St Jude Classic on PGA Tour schedule

The Irish Open has moved to a new May date.

The Irish Open has moved to a new May date.

 

The Irish Open will move to a new date in May next year to avoid a clash with a high-profile tournament in the United States.

The European Tour has announced the event, won by Spain’s Jon Rahm for the last two years after he secured back-to-back titles at Lahinch during the summer, will now be held from May 28th-31st.

The Irish Open, for which a venue is still be confirmed with Mount Juliet and The Island both thought to be under consideration, has traditionally been held two weeks before the British Open in July but in 2020 that would have clashed with the St Jude Classic in Memphis, which is a World Golf Championships event.

The French Open will now be held from July 2nd-5th instead.

The changes were confirmed as the European Tour released its full schedule for 2020, which features 46 Race to Dubai events in 29 different countries. The programme has been planned around the Olympics in Tokyo from July 30th-August 3rd and the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits from September 25th-27th.

The British Masters will be held at Close House Golf Club in Newcastle from July 30th-August 2nd, with space in the calendar being left for a new event in Britain the following week, August 6th-9th. Further details of this will be announced in the coming months.

World number five Rahm, meanwhile, will be one of the star attractions as he defends his home title at the Open de Espana in Madrid.

Rahm followed in some famous Spanish footsteps as he joined the likes of Seve Ballesteros and Sergio Garcia as a winner of the Open de Espana when he triumphed in the capital last year.

The 24-year-old is now hoping to retain a title for the first time as the event moves to the Club de Campo Villa, following his two-shot win over Paul Dunne at Centro Nacional in April 2018.

Rahm said: “There are some weeks when I really want to win. I’d love to be a multiple winner of the Open de Espana, and I’d love this to be the first time I successfully defend a title.

“It won’t be more pressure than last year. That was the first time I played the event, I was fourth in the world, I had just played well at Augusta.

“Hopefully I can just focus on playing good golf and be in the mix on Sunday.”

Rahm will tee off alongside countrymen Rafa Cabrera Bello and Adri Arnaus on Thursday while Garcia, Alvaro Quiros and veterans Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez are among the other Spanish entrants.

Dunne is one of three Irish players in the field and will be joined by Gavin Moynihan and Michael Hoey.

Dunne, who has missed eight of his last 10 cuts on tour, is currently 106th on the Race to Dubai standings with the top 110 retaining full tour cards for next season.

Moynihan (who is 159th) and Hoey (173rd) badlyneed to find some form in their few remaining opportunities to avoid a return to Q school.

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