The consensus is Pádraig Harrington would need to be out of his mind to take on the role of host at the Irish Open Championship next July, given that he is set to captain the European Ryder Cup team at Whistling Straits less than three months later.
Cormac Sharvin knows it is only human to think about it but the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open’s leading Irishman is determined to not let thoughts of a place in this month’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush interfere with the business at hand.
A group of distinguished, older members of Lahinch Golf Club assembled outside the clubhouse earlier in the week and looked around in awe at the transformation that had taken place at the Irish Open venue.
Eddie Pepperell may have earned himself a late tee time in today’s third round at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open after he followed his opening 65 with a 67 yesterday, but the Englishman is not banking on a good night’s sleep in Lahinch.
After a day of glorious sunshine and low scoring on Thursday, the early starters yesterday were greeted by a decidedly different golf challenge. A cool morning mist and trickier pin positions meant a very challenging first nine holes.
Pádraig Harrington has not given up hope of claiming what would be his second Irish Open title despite a hugely disappointing second round thee-over score of 73 at a gloomy and wet Old Course in Lahinch on Friday morning.
This may not be Pádraig Harrington’s last shot at glory but the triple major champion knows age is catching up with him and his blistering 63 at Lahinch yesterday was a sign he is not inclined to waste a minute of the time he has left in elite golf.
Graeme McDowell will be trying to avoid thinking about The Open Championship in his hometown of Portrush in two weeks as he bids to start his links golf season on a high at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open on Thursday.
Rory McIlroy was not using his tournament hosting duties as an excuse at Ballyliffin this week, but he will certainly head to Lahinch for the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open relishing the freedom from the responsibilities he has held these past four years.
There is no underestimating what this Dubai Duty Free Irish Open meant to everybody at Ballyliffin Golf Club, but it was general manager John Farren’s mission not to squander the opportunities that hosting the European Tour event presented to Donegal as a whole.
Scotland’s Russell Knox emerged victorious from an exciting conclusion to the sun-soaked Dubai Duty Free Irish Open as a disappointed home contingent was already turning their thoughts to Carnoustie and next week’s bid for the Open Championship.