Sunday 15 December 2019

Portstewart Golf Club to host second Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in four years in 2021


Brian Keogh

Portstewart Golf Club has told its members it will host the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open for the second time in four years in 2021.

According to the BBC, the news was announced at the club's AGM on Thursday evening.

"Portstewart's members were told that discussions between the European Tour and the club resulted in an agreement being finalised last week," the report said.

Next year's Irish Open will be held at Mount Juliet in Co Kilkenny from May 28-31 but a links staging would suggest a return to a mid-summer date in 2021, as predicted by Pádraig Harrington earlier this month.

No host has been announced for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open next year and with Harrington, Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke all ruled out and Shane Lowry not considered an option at this stage in his career, all eyes are on Graeme McDowell.

The Portrush man, or Clarke, are ideal candidates to host at Portstewart, which was the host venue in 2017 when current champion Jon Rahm clinched the first of his two titles.

McDowell is a likely Ryder Cup vice-captain for Pádraig Harrington in Wisconsin next year and yesterday hosted the Dubliner at his Florida home to celebrate Thanksgiving.

There was some good-natured banter on Twitter with McDowell plaintively asking for a captain's pick next year in reply to Harrington's tweet showing him hitting a ball from the veranda of the Rathmore club man's Lake Nona pad.

"Should be in good shape for a pick next September, right Captain?" McDowell tweeted.

Harrington, who has already announced Swede Robert Karlsson as the first of his five assistants, replied: "There’s 4 vice captains open."

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