Ireland’s Des Smyth will take on his brother Val when the pair look to continue their country’s fine golfing form in 2008 on home soil at this year’s Irish Seniors Open at Ballyliffin Golf Club, in Co. Donegal, from June 20-22.
The field is shaping up to be one of the strongest in the event’s 12 year history, with defending champion Costantino Rocca of Italy and European Seniors Tour rookie Sandy Lyle of Scotland also teeing up
It will be a special occasion for Smyth as his brother Val will be playing for the JB Carr Memorial Trophy, which is given to the leading amateur at the Irish Seniors Open.
Smyth, who finished third in the Seniors Tour Order of Merit in 2005, was Ian Woosnam’s Vice Captain for Europe’s Ryder Cup win at The K Club in Ireland two years ago and will hope for similar success on home soil at Ballyliffin Golf Club.
The 55 year old, who lost to Tom Watson in a play-off at the 2005 Senior British Open Championship, will look to rekindle the form that saw him the win 2007 Wentworth Senior Masters.
He will return to his native Ireland having played in all four rounds of the US Seniors PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club.
Smyth still holds the record as the oldest winner on The European Tour when, during his 28th consecutive season in 2001, he won the Madeira Island Open at the age of 48 years and 34 days.
The Smyth brothers will be joined in the field at Ballyliffin Golf Club by another Irishman Garth McGimpsey, the former Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup winning Captain.
They are certain to receive a warm welcome from the Irish public, who will hope they can follow the success of countrymen Darren Clarke, Peter Lawrie, Graeme McDowell and Damien McGrane who have all won on The European Tour this year, and Michael Hoey who has won on the European Challenge Tour.
Charles Perring, Deputy Managing Director of the European Seniors Tour, said: “We are greatly looking forward to the Irish Seniors Open being at Ballyliffin Golf Club this year and we are delighted that Des Smyth’s participation will further strengthen an already impressive field.
“We know that we will all be assured of a warm welcome and we’re looking forward to witnessing some tremendous golf on one of the great Irish links courses.”
Former Irish Seniors Open winners Seiji Ebihara of Japan (2001 and 2002), Carl Mason of England (2004), and Sam Torrance (2006) will also compete for the €450,000 prize fund, along with Sir Bob Charles of New Zealand.
Eamonn Darcy and Denis O’Sullivan, who recently finished seventh at the season-opening DGM Barbados Open, are also amongst the home contingent.
This year’s Irish Seniors Open will again be supported by Fáilte Ireland and AIB, who have been involved since the inaugural event in 1997.
Ballyliffin Golf Club in Co. Donegal, which was officially opened in 1947, has two courses: the more recent Glashedy Links, unveiled in 1995, and the Old Links, which will be used for the Irish Seniors Open.
Advance tickets for the Irish Seniors Open can be purchased at the course on a daily basis. Tickets are priced at €10 for a daily ticket, or €20 for a season ticket. Admission is free to under 18s. AIB Bank card holders will receive a discount of 50% off the ticket price when purchased on the gate on presentation of an AIB banking card.