Irish Open: Galgorm Castle Golf Club to host European Tour event in September

Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort has hosted the European Challenge Tour's NI Open and the World Invitational event in recent years
The NI Open will also take place at the Ballymena venue

Galgorm Castle Golf Club will host the 2020 Irish Open from 24-27 September, the European Tour has announced.

As had been expected, the event will be staged at the County Antrim venue for the first time.

This year's Irish Open was scheduled for Mount Juliet in Kilkenny in May but fell victim to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Playing the tournament at the Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort venue will enable competitors to travel from the US Open without having to quarantine.

"With quarantine restrictions for travellers into the Republic of Ireland ongoing and the ban on mass gatherings still in place, the European Tour made the decision to move the tournament to Northern Ireland," a statement from the European Tour said.

It added that the tournament will now be "subject to similar guidelines to the current 'UK Swing' events, including being played behind closed doors".

"We are extremely grateful to Gary Henry and everyone at Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort for stepping up to host us," added the European Tour statement.

Galgorm Castle's managing director Henry said that the Ballymena club was "delighted" at the announcement.

"This outstanding tournament is steeped in history and we look forward to welcoming some of the best players in the world to Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort," he added.

Graeme McDowell is the Irish Open's tournament host for 2020 and 2021
Graeme McDowell is the Irish Open's tournament host for 2020 and 2021

Organisers said planning remains ongoing for the tournament to return to Mount Juliet in 2021, providing all health guidelines in place at that time can be met.

Galgorm Castle will also host the NI Open three weeks before the Irish Open.

The rescheduled date for the Irish Open was when the 2020 Ryder Cup was initially due to be played, but it has been postponed until next year.

Rory McIlroy has previously suggested that he is unlikely to travel home for this year's Irish Open, although tournament organisers will be optimistic that other Irish major winners Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry will return for their national open.

In December, McDowell was announced as the Irish Open's tournament host for 2020 and 2021.

McIlroy fulfilled that role for a number of years while Paul McGinley occupied the position at Lahinch in 2019, when Jon Rahm was the winner.

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