Lahinch Golf Club has been named as the host venue for the 2020 Arnold Palmer Cup.
The stunning Co Clare links, which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year and hosts the Home Internationals in 2019, will welcome teams of men and women representing the United States and the Rest of the World from July 3-5, 2020.
It will be the fourth Irish staging of the event following Doonbeg (2002), Ballybunion (2004), Royal Portrush (2010) and Royal County Down (2012).
In a joint statement, Lahinch club captains, Gerry Pierse and Angela Cullinan, said: “This is a great honour for Lahinch. It is also, we believe, recognition of the club’s support and encouragement for the amateur game stretching back over a century, with the hosting by the club of the first South of Ireland Championship in 1895 and the Irish Ladies Close Championship in 1904.
"We have no doubt but that the experience of competitive golf on a classic links course will create lasting memories for the young men and women who are selected to represent their respective teams.
"As a club we will do all in our power to ensure that the tournament is true to the ethos of the game and the vision of Mr Palmer by using our friendship in golf as one of the great avenues for communication and understanding between the nations of the world.
"Above all we can assure all visitors to Lahinch who come to participate, whether as player, spectator or administrator, a truly unique and wonderful Irish welcome.”
Since its inception in 1997, the Arnold Palmer Cup (co-founded by the late Arnold Palmer and The Golf Coaches Association of America) has grown from strength to strength and is now regarded as the world’s leading collegiate golf competition, run on a Ryder Cup style basis.
From 2018, the leading collegiate lady golfers will participate in the annual competition which will be expanded to include golfers from across all six continents in the annual USA versus the Rest of the World matchplay tournament.
The matches will mark the third Arnold Palmer Cup be held under the expanded format to include men’s and women’s USA collegiate golfers against the counterparts from around the world.
The annual Ryder Cup-style competition will be played July 3-5, 2020.
“Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation is pleased the Arnold Palmer Cup will return to the west of Ireland for the 2020 matches at Lahinch Golf Club,” said Kevin Bingham, CEO of Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation.
“Lahinch boasts a long and rich history and shares Arnie’s Army’s passion for the game and the positive lessons it teaches us all, most especially young people.
"Mr Palmer was a great proponent of international competition and the way it brings people closer together. We’re pleased that future college players and their junior caddies will enjoy this character building experience on one of the world’s finest links.”
Lahinch Golf Club was founded in 1892 and is consistently ranked in the Top 50 golf courses in world golf.
Originally laid out by Old Tom Morris, the services of Dr Alister MacKenzie were retained in 1926 to redesign the course, following which he declared “Lahinch will make the finest and most popular golf course that I, or I believe anyone else, ever constructed.”
Since 1895, the spectacular links course has played host to Ireland’s oldest amateur championship, the South of Ireland.
Past champions include Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley and Graeme McDowell, who participated in the 2000 and 2001 Arnold Palmer Cups as well as Justin Keogh and Stuart Grehan, who represented Europe in the 2002 and 2016 respectively.
To add to this rich tradition of promoting and encouraging the amateur game, three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington won the Irish Amateur Championship at Lahinch in 1995 while, last year, the club hosted the Irish Ladies Championship for the twelfth time, with Olivia Mahaffey winning the title in glorious sunshine.
The links regularly plays host to U.S. golfers as they plot their preparations for The Open Championship each July.
The Arnold Palmer Cup was co-founded by Arnold Palmer and The Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) and began at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge, Orlando, Fla. in 1997.
The event is a Ryder Cup-style tournament featuring the top male university/college golfers matching the United States against Europe.
In 2018, the participants will include corresponding women golfers who will be added to both the USA and International teams and will thus become the only major tournament which features men and women playing side-by-side as partners.
Since its inception, 101 former Arnold Palmer Cup alumni have gone on to earn cards on either the PGA or European Tours, 22 alumni have gone on to represent Europe or the USA in the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, and 48 have claimed 177 victories on the PGA or European Tours. The United States leads the series 10-9-1.
Arnold Palmer Cup is supported by Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation. The Arnold Palmer Cup provides a platform for perpetuating Arnold Palmer’s commitment to youth development and the growth of amateur/collegiate golf. For more information, please visit ArnoldPalmerCup.com