European Tour

DP World Tour: Harrington and Lowry delighted to be back on home soil

Former champions Pádraig Harrington and Shane Lowry can’t wait to tee it up in front of the home crowds as they return to The K Club for the Horizon Irish Open on the DP World Tour.

Irish Open at the K Club

Harrington ended a more than 30 year wait for an Irish winner when he claimed the coveted title at Adare Manor in 2007, while Lowry made history two years later when he became the first amateur to win the event at County Louth.

Lowry arrives at The K Club buoyed by his recent selection as part of Luke Donald’s European Ryder Cup team set to compete at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in three weeks’ time, with Harrington also in a rich vein of form after capturing his fifth title on PGA TOUR Champions three months ago.

The pair are part of a world class field teeing it up as the Horizon Irish Open returns to The K Club for the first time since 2016. The tournament will also be played at the County Kildare venue in 2025 and 2027, with 2027 marking the 100th anniversary of the first staging of the event.

Both players are committed to raising money for the tournament’s Official Charity Make-A-Wish Ireland, with each pledging to donate €500 for every birdie and €1,000 for every eagle they card during the week as part of the fundraising efforts.

DP World Tour Player Quotes

Pádraig Harrington: “This is very close to my home. I spent most of my summer practice down here, so very familiar.  This is very close to my home. This is where I do my practice when I’m at home. Love the fact that we’ll have the Irish fans out as I expect – not because of the weather, but because we haven’t had a got in this area for a while. The crowds are going to be big, enormous. The support is going to be brilliant. The weather is going to be great. All we really have to do as the Irish golfers is play a bit of good golf.

“For a tournament, there’s so many exciting shots on the course. You can remember Rory’s second into what we call the 16th of the championship course and the 18th, but the 16th is that one that was an incredible golf shot. There’s so many risk-reward, do-or-die shots out here. It’s a fabulous golf course to come and play, and I’ve got to say, the Smurfits were very good to me, and Michael Fetherston has carried that on. It’s unbelievable how welcome he makes the pros and the young players when they come down here and lets us have the run of the place.”

Shane Lowry: “I think it’s going to be an amazing week. Forecast is very good. Golf course is great.  We’ve got a great field here. It’s very exciting to be here. It’s always one of my favourite events to play, obviously, and with it being so close to home this year, as well, it’s extra special, so it’s nice.

“Obviously there are certain years where you get bad weather where people maybe don’t show up as much as you’d like, even though you get great crowds all the time, but I fully expect the crowds to be huge this week, and I think it’s going to be a great event.

“As I said to somebody earlier, it’s an amazing month to have ahead of you, to be honest. Obviously this week is our fifth major, and it really is – I do treat it like that, and then we have obviously I’m defending at Wentworth, which is one of my favourite events, next week, and then buildup for the Ryder Cup the week after that. Yeah, it’s kind of dream stuff and something that I’m looking forward to the challenge the next few weeks, and very excited for what it could bring.”

(Text by DP World Tour)

European Tour

DP World Tour: Irish stars relishing Mount Juliet homecoming

Pádraig Harrington, Shane Lowry and Séamus Power are excited to tee it up in front of the packed home crowds at Mount Juliet Estate for this week’s Horizon Irish Open.

The home favourites will be backed by Irish golf fans in their thousands, with a sold-out weekend and only a limited number of tickets remaining for the first two days, as all three players return to compete on home soil for the first time this year. Harrington, the 2007 winner of this event, arrives in County Kilkenny having secured his maiden Senior Major title at last week’s U.S. Senior Open at Saucon Valley, where he earned a one-stroke victory over fellow former Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker.

Power, the World Number 36, returns to his home Open for the first time in three years and the first time since becoming a PGA TOUR winner at the 2021 Barbasol Championship in Kentucky.

The highest-ranked player in the field at Mount Juliet is 2019 Open Champion Lowry, who currently occupies 24th on the Official World Golf Ranking, and arrives home off the back of an excellent run of form during which he has missed only one cut in 2022.

Australia’s Lucas Herbert will defend the title he won in wire-to-wire fashion at Mount Juliet last year, while Rolex Series winners Tyrrell Hatton, Thomas Pieters, Aaron Rai and Min Woo Lee will also tee it up this week. Make-A-Wish Ireland, the Official Charity of the Horizon Irish Open, will benefit from the Birdies for Wishes initiative this week whereby every birdie on the 18th hole at Mount Juliet during tournament play will result in a €500 donation to the charity.


Pádraig Harrington: “It’s great to be back after a win. Great to have won on the Champions Tour.  I’ve gone out there for that very reason, to win, rather than play regular events and finish in the top ten.

“Coming here, the crowds, it was a nice atmosphere with people congratulating me. I’m sure it will be like that for the rest of the week. It can be tough being at your home Open, especially if you don’t play well or you’re in the middle of the pack and things aren’t going so well, you feel like you’re letting down the fans.  I think Mount Juliet lends itself to a great event. It’s got a great atmosphere. All the players are on site. So the players enjoy themselves, and with the crowds coming in, there should be a great buzz. Whoever wins here or gets themselves in contention this week will know all about it. I’m looking forward to it.

“The fans are out and it’s a great week, great venue, Mount Juliet, so I’m going to enjoy myself no matter what, wave to the crowds.  My display of golf today wouldn’t give you any great confidence about how the rest of the four days, but 24 hours is a long time in golf so I’m hoping that I’ll be well rested by tomorrow.”

Shane Lowry: “I say it every year, it’s always great to come back to this event. It’s kind of close to me, and I owe a lot to it for where I am in the game with the start that I had with the Irish Open in 2009 and it gave me the kick start to my career that I really needed. It definitely gave me one up on the rest of the guys around my level at the time. 

“It’s nice to come back here every year. I’m playing some good golf, and I’m just kind of excited for the week ahead, and I’m very hopeful that I put in a good performance. It’s been a nice stretch for me, and I feel confident, I feel good about my game. It’s just about managing expectation in a week like this really, but I feel like I’m doing that every week because I feel like every week I play now is such a big week, and every week I really want to do well. 

“I’d love myself to do well this week. I’d love myself to be the Irishman to do well. I think obviously Séamus or Padraig, or even anybody, we were all up there on Sunday afternoon, and one of us won it. So it would be great for the tournament and it’d be great for golf if that was the case.”

Séamus Power: “It’s one I’ve had circled on the calendar for probably six months now, it’s going to be great. I haven’t played since 2019 as obviously the last couple years with COVID has been tricky. I think it’s going to be sold out, and it’s going to be a great week.

“As soon as I saw the draw with Shane, I thought this is going to be pretty cool. Probably some of the biggest crowds that I’ve seen, I’d imagine, with Shane. I’ve known Shane a long time. Haven’t played a ton of competitive rounds as professionals together. We played quite a few practise rounds together, so I think it’s going to be really, really good out there. Big crowds and hopefully the weather is good. It’s a completely different experience for me. I’ve played in the States for a long time. I haven’t played that many Irish Opens, and obviously none really as someone near a featured group. 

“So it’s going to be a different experience. I feel like I have a good plan set up for it. At the end of the day, I’m going to start a golf tournament tomorrow morning. No matter where it is, I still have to be prepared, do proper warm-ups, having everything taken care of preparation-wise and see where my game stands.”

European Tour

DP World Tour: Power returns at Horizon Irish Open

Séamus Power will play in front of his home fans for the first time since becoming a PGA TOUR winner when the Irishman tees it up at the 2022 Horizon Irish Open, which returns to the stunning Mount Juliet Estate from June 30 – July 3.

The Waterford player has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the Official World Golf Ranking, going from 434th in the world at the beginning of 2021 to his current career-high ranking of 40th.

PGA Tour Winner and Masters debutant

His achievement in becoming just the sixth Irishman to win on the PGA TOUR, at the Barbasol Championship last July, captured the imagination of the Irish sporting public and two weeks ago he made his Masters Tournament debut, aged 35.

Power, who has been based in the USA since graduating from East Tennessee State University, has only played his home national open on three occasions – making his last appearance in 2019 – and his return this year is sure to be met with a rapturous welcome at the County Kilkenny venue.

“I cannot wait to return to the Horizon Irish Open and play in front of the home fans for the first time since my win on the PGA TOUR,” said Power, who has signed up as a DP World Tour Member for the 2022 season.

“I have received so much attention and love from home since that win, and during my recent run of good form, so I’m looking forward to showing my gratitude at Mount Juliet in July.

“The Irish Open is a festival for the public”

“It’s a tournament which is very close to my heart obviously, and I had an unbelievable experience at Lahinch in 2019. The tournament has grown so much and has become a real festival for the Irish sporting public, so I’m sure it will be no different this year. Hopefully I can put on a good show for the fans.”

Last year, the returning home fans watched Australian Lucas Herbert triumph in wire-to-wire fashion, sealing a three-stroke victory for a second DP World Tour title. The promising 25-year-old has since won for the first time on the PGA TOUR, at October’s 2021 Butterfield Bermuda Championship and he too made his Masters debut last week.

Prior to the 2021 edition, Mount Juliet had hosted the Irish Open for three consecutive years in 1993, 1994 and 1995, won by Englishman Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer of Germany and Scotland’s Sam Torrance respectively.

It was announced in February that all general admission tickets for Sunday at the 2022 Horizon Irish Open have sold out, the earliest sell-out day in the history of the DP World Tour. Limited tickets still remain for the Wednesday Celebrity Pro-Am, as well as the first three tournament days – Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Premium Experience hospitality packages are also selling fast, with The Range Club – an ideal offering for smaller groups wishing to relax in style and enjoy outstanding service in a relaxed hospitality environment – already sold out on Sunday.

(Text: DP World Tour)

European Tour

Rory McIlroy: “Irish Open was the first time I ever watched Tiger play live”

Before the start of the tournament Rory McIlroy talks about his return to the Irish Open on the European Tour and the upcoming last Major of the current season.

Q. Welcome back to the Irish Open, and to Mount Juliet. You were out there playing today. Tell us how you got on. How is Mount Juliet looking today?

Rory McIlroy: It’s looking fabulous. Wonderful weather. Great golf course. It’s great. I’ve never played here before. I’ve been here to watch when the World Golf Championships were here in 2002 and 2004; we came down to watch, but a little different playing it. And, yeah, obviously vantage point is a little different, as well.

But yeah, it’s in great shape. I played the back nine today. I’ll play all 18 tomorrow in the Pro-Am. Landed this morning at 5.15 into Dublin, so it’s been a long day and pretty tired, but determined to stay up and watch England and Germany here in a little bit and we’ll go from there.

Q. Wondering about your memories of those tournaments in 2002 and 2004. Many champions here are major winners. Is that something that you feel that this is a course that maybe suits players of that calibre; that you should be up there this week because of that?

Rory McIlroy: Yeah, I hope so. I hope to continue that trend, that’s for sure.

Yeah, I remember quite a bit. I said to Harry, the last time I was on the 18th green here was during the prize ceremony when Tiger won, and I remember I somehow sneaked my way like under the rope onto the back of the green, and I was standing right behind him and his glove was still in his back pocket. And like I could have reached and got it and ran; it would have been a good story to tell him but I obviously didn’t.

It was the first time I ever watched Tiger play live. I remember the first shot I ever saw him hit was a drive off the 5th hole, the par 5, and he hit a 2-iron into the green. It was really cool. I idolised him growing up and to actually see the man in the flesh was pretty exciting.

And then in 2004, I was sort of — I had sort of made a name for myself in the amateur scene at that point and I had gotten to know Chubby and Darren and stuff, so I was a little more in the — I remember being in the clubhouse and stuff and meeting Ernie after he won. Had a little more access then because that have.

But yeah, really good memories coming down here watching. It’s amazing that it’s been 17 years and the tournament hasn’t been back since. Glad to be back and certainly a lot’s changed in the last 17 years since the last time I was here.

Q. You’re working on a few things with Pete Cowen and a couple majors have come and gone. What would be a good second half of the season? You have The Open coming up, the Olympics and The Ryder Cup. What would be a good end of season review if you were looking at it in four months’ time?

Rory McIlroy: Yeah, I think getting myself into contention in another major. So getting myself into contention at The Open would be great. I think having a chance to win both the FedExCup and The Race to Dubai; I think they are two pretty good goals of mine I’d like to try to achieve.

And yeah, like have a great Ryder Cup. Obviously that’s very important. There’s a lot of golf to play up until that point, but I’d say they are the main goals. Just give myself a chance at The Open. Give myself a chance in both FedExCup and Race to Dubai, and try to have a really good Ryder Cup.

Q. Thoughts on being back the at Irish Open for the first time since 2018?

Rory McIlroy: It’s feet like three years. A lot has happened since. I played Ballyliffin obviously in 2018. Made the decision not to play in 2019 because I felt like that was the best preparation for The Open at Portrush, and then obviously last year with the pandemic and everything. Things have started to open back up again, so it is nice to be back.

Yeah, it’s been a while. I haven’t been home. I haven’t been back here for nearly a couple years, and that’s the longest time I’ve spent away for a while. But it is, it’s nice to get back. I think if the weather was like this all the time, I’d probably want to come back more.

But it is, it’s great to be back and great to be playing an Irish Open again and got a look at the back nine at Mount Juliet today and it’s a great golf course.

This is the first time back at the Irish Open since you hosted it for four years, and that in itself brought a lot of extra pressure. Do you feel a weight is lifted? Does it feel different coming back to the Irish Open?

Rory McIlroy: A little bit. I think there’s always going to be a bit of added pressure when you come back and play an Irish Open, especially obviously being from here, but also being the favorite for the tournament and all that sort of stuff. So there’s always those sort of pressures. But I feel like as long as I just stick to my game plan and my own expectations and try to get the most out of myself, then that’s all I can do.

But yeah, I’m looking forward to this week. I feel like the Irish Open that I won at The K Club, it’s a pretty similar set up to what it is here. Might be a little firmer this week because of the weather. But decent parkland courses, it’s something familiar to me. It’s what I’ve been playing for the last couple years. Yeah, I feel good about my game.

So yeah, there’s always going to be pressure there. But I think if I just stick to what I’m doing and put my head down, I’ll be okay.

Q. You haven’t played in front of home fans since The Open; I know you’re excited to play in front of fans again since things opened up, but I’m sure this will be extra special this week?

Rory McIlroy: Yeah, it will. I mean, I wish more — it would be great if more fans were allowed in, but I understand that’s not quite possible at this time in this country. But it’s at least nice that we are playing in front of somebody, right.

Whenever we started back last year, when there was no fans allowed, it was a tough atmosphere to play in, and getting used to playing in front of fans again in the States has been really nice. It was great to get that win at Quail Hollow in front of a lot of people and being in contention at the U.S. Open with quite a few people there, as well.

This is a bit of a step back from what we’re used to over the last few weeks, but it’s better than playing in front of nobody.

Q. What did it mean to you to win this historic championship back in 2016?

Rory McIlroy: It meant an awful lot. The Irish Open has been a big part of my career. I first played this event as an amateur in 2005. I went to watch Irish Opens as a kid and I think as well, 2016 with the involvement with the foundation at that point, as well, and raising so much money and then obviously winning and having that prize money go to charity, as well, it meant a lot for a lot of reasons.

Personally it was great to win an Irish Open but also it meant a lot another ways, too, which was very fulfilling.

Q. Give us your impression of the course so far.

Rory McIlroy: It’s good. I think with the weather, it has the potential to become quite fiery over the week, which is going to make it play pretty short. It’s already a short enough golf course by modern standards. But it’s going to be tricky. Fairways are narrow. I think it’s got the potential to become quite fiddly, a lot of like just putting it in position and going from there.

I think if you’re smart, you can play pretty conservative with the par 4s. You can obviously take advantage of the par 5s and make birdie there. But there’s plenty of chances out there, and pretty sure the scoring is going to be pretty low.

Q. How are you feeling about your game coming in?

Rory McIlroy: I’m feeling good. I played well in the U.S. Open. Had a chance on the back nine. Things didn’t go obviously the way I wanted them to but I felt very encouraged walking away and some of the work I’ve been doing with Pete’s really started to bed in. I didn’t really do much last week because I’m on the road five of the next six weeks and just wanted to spend as much time with my family as possible because they are not on the road with me. I think I hit balls one day. So I’m looking forward to getting back into it this week.