Ryder Cup stars Thomas Pieters and Ian Poulter have been confirmed in the star-studded field for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation, along with fan favourite Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston.
As the third Rolex Series event of the 2017 Race to Dubai, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will feature a record US$7 million prize fund
World Number 26 Pieters of Belgium made a huge impression on his Ryder Cup debut at Hazeltine National last year despite Europe’s defeat, while Poulter has become one of the greats of the modern Ryder Cup era.
Johnston, meanwhile, rose to fame last year winning the Open de España at Real Clube Valderrama and has since become one of the biggest crowd-pleasers in the game thanks to his sense of humour and unassuming demeanour.
Tournament host Rory McIlroy will return home to defend the title he claimed in such swashbuckling style last year, while World Number Two Hideki Matsuyama will make his regular European Tour debut having finished joint runner-up at last week’s U.S. Open Championship.
Fans will also have the opportunity to see rising Spanish prodigy Jon Rahm for the first time while Olympic Gold Medal winner Justin Rose will play the event for the first time in seven years.
Tommy Fleetwood, who finished in outright fourth place at Erin Hills last week and currently sits in second position on the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex, is another one of those already announced for the 90th edition of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
A number of his fellow English luminaries, including World Number 20 Tyrrell Hatton, 2016 Masters Champion Danny Willett and Ryder Cup legend Lee Westwood, will also take on the spectacular Portstewart links.
Home-grown Major winners Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell will return for their national championship as will Shane Lowry, who won this tournament as an amateur in 2009, and rising star Paul Dunne.
Jamie Donaldson and Søren Kjeldsen, both of whom won this event on Northern Irish soil in 2012 and 2015 respectively, will return hoping to repeat their successes, while English trio Matt Fitzpatrick, Andy Sullivan and Chris Wood complete the compliment of 2016 Ryder Cup players in the field alongside World Number 32 Rafa Cabrera Bello, McIlroy, Pieters, Rose, Westwood and Willett.
Of the remarkable field gathering for the third of eight Rolex Series events, McIlroy said: “This is certainly one of the strongest fields I’ve ever seen for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, if not the strongest. It’s really shaping up for an incredible week.
“Everybody knows how special this tournament is to me, and to return to Northern Ireland as defending champion, with my Foundation again hosting the event, is real honour."
Tickets are on sale at www.dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com, starting at £20 for Pro-Am Wednesday, with tickets for Thursday and Friday costing £40 and day tickets for the weekend costing £45.
An adult season souvenir ticket, which covers six days of world class golf from Tuesday to Sunday, costs just £100 (a saving of £105 over the course of the five days).