|View of the K Club's 6th hole. |
One of the big questions that immediately followed Danny Willett's win in Augusta - from an Irish perspective anyway - was whether he would play in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, hosted by the Rory Foundation from May 19-22
The commitments and opportunities which follow such a momentous victory can turn a Professional's planned annual schedule on its head.
It has been confirmed, however, that Danny will roll up to the K Club and will, undoubtedly, be one of the hot favourites. It will be his first appearance in Europe as Masters champion and, a
long with McIlroy, the Englishman will be
the headline act in a field which includes his compatriots Matt Fitzpatrick and
Lee Westwood, and defending champion Søren Kjeldsen. All performed
superbly at Augusta National last week.
|The sweet par three 8th beside the River Liffey.|
Willett can anticipate an
incredible reception when he steps on to the first tee at The K Club after his
life-changing victory in Augusta.
“The Irish Open is going to be awesome,” he
said. “It’s a great event. Last year at County Down was pretty special,
especially for me having played in the Walker Cup there in 2007. This year, we
are at The K Club and it’s going to be a special week.
“Rory has done a magnificent job with the
tournament, and what he is doing for the European Tour and golf in Ireland in
general. I think with the field we are going to have there, amazing crowds as
always and an iconic venue like The K Club, it’s going to be a brilliant
tournament. I am really looking forward to making my first appearance in Europe
|Approach to the K Club's par five 18th.|
Off the course, Willett remains confident
but he is also grounded by a sense of realism and speaks with refreshing
honesty. He does not yet believe he is at the same level as golf’s current ‘big
three’, but is well aware that he is quickly becoming part of the conversation
at the game’s top table.
“Guys like Rory, Jordan and Jason have
achieved a bit more than me at this stage,” said Willett. “I still have a
little way to go to be up there with those boys, but it’s a fantastic start and
a big move in the right direction to start doing special things in the very
“I am looking forward to being part of that
illustrious group of Major winners, which still sounds a bit odd to be honest,
but I want to keep moving forward with my career and seeing what else I can
“I have no idea how good I can be. I don’t
think you can ever really tell how good someone is going to be or what they are
capable of. Before Sunday, people probably didn’t think I was capable of what I
“I am just going to keep doing what I am
doing and ticking all the boxes that I know will improve me both as a person
and as a golfer, and hopefully I can get into that position again. It’s a
special feeling and one I want to feel a few more times.”
As well as Willett and McIlroy, Ireland’s
other recent Major Champions, Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Graeme
McDowell, will also star at The K Club, alongside former Irish Open champion
Anyone who wants the chance to see the new Masters
champion in action can buy an advance ticket for our national open at www.dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com.
Tickets cost €30 per day with a season ticket costing just €70
for all four days. There are also special deals for families and the event will have plenty of extras to keep everybody happy.
A portion of all tickets sales this year
will go towards the Rory Foundation, which was established by McIlroy in 2013
to help children live better lives by raising funds and offering support to
children’s charities around the world.
The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open 2016 is also
supported by the Irish Government under the auspices of Fáilte Ireland and