Shane Lowry is on a different wavelength to Pádraig Harrington regarding the date for next year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
Whereas Harrington insisted the current date is ideal, Lowry revealed that the whisper on the European Tour is that there could be a clash with the St Jude World Golf Championship event in the Olympic Games year of 2020.
Such a development could have dire consequences for the Irish event.
A similar clash occurred in 2016 when because of the Olympics, the dates for the WGC events, heavy with world ranking points and massive sums of money, were moved forward by three weeks.
And the Bridgestone Invitational at the Firestone Country Club fell on the same week as the French Open, one of the most lucrative on the European Tour.
Furthermore, the French Open was high on the list of the European Tour at the time with the Ryder Cup set for the Golf National two years later.
So the Tour ruled that no points would be on offer for their members who played in Akron and passed up on Paris.
The St Jude WGC takes place this year the week after the British Open in Portrush, with the organisers of the Memphis tournament also unhappy with that situation. It’s all very much up in the air and this is probably one good reason why nothing has yet been set in stone for next year’s Irish Open with regard to either date or venue.
The issue, however, has clearly exercised the mind of Lowry and several other European Tour players.
“First of all, if you look at what Dubai Duty Free has done with the Irish Open over the last few years, I think it would be unfair on them if it was the same date as the WGC,” asserted the Offaly man.
“There’s going to be a few guys, Ian Poulter just walked by me there, Matt Wallace, Tyrrell Hatton, Louis Oosthuizen, guys who have made this tournament this week, obviously the Irish players as well (who would have a conflict of interest) ... but there is no doubt if it is the same week as the WGC I will have to play the Irish Open.
“I think personally they will have to move it if it is going to be the same week.”