The tweet from tournament host Graeme McDowell said it all.
Today should have been the day McDowell and a field including world number one Rory McIlroy, Open champion Shane Lowry and defending champ Jon Rahm teed it up at Mount Juliet for the first round of the €6.4 million 2020 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
“Wish we were there guys!” McDowell posted in reply to a tweet from the Mount Juliet Estate account showcasing the Jack Nicklaus-designed championship course bathed in glorious Co. Kilkenny sunshine.
“Tough times but they will pass,” GMac continued. “Hope to see you all very soon.”
No new date has been given as yet for this lucrative Rolex Series event, one of the jewels in the European Tour schedule’s crown but the Mount Juliet post said: “Looking forward to getting new dates very soon.”
That may come as early as today with European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley scheduled to host a media teleconference at noon.
With no golf since the Qatar Masters concluded on March 8, nine European Tour events, including The 149th Open at Royal St George’s, have been cancelled and a further nine, including the Irish Open, postponed due to Covid-19.
Yet as the wait for a date continues, thoughts are for what might have been.
Colm McLoughlin, executive vice-chairman and CEO of tournament sponsors Dubai Duty Free said: “We are of course disappointed not to be at Mount Juliet this week for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
“Mount Juliet is a stunning venue and no doubt would have been an incredible place to be for the players, spectators, and to the thousands of fans who were so much looking forward to the tournament.
“The spectacular weather this week and a competitive field which was set to include the defending champion Jon Rahm would have brought great excitement and joy to so many people. However, the European Tour’s decision to postpone the event was absolutely correct, public health is of utmost importance.”
Mount Juliet director of golf Matt Sandercock is confident the Thomastown venue will be ready whatever the date.
“The fact we’re in good stead now is a great benefit going forward and we can sharpen the course and get it ready for when we’re due to host this,” Sandercock told the Bogey Men podcast.
“We really hope we get the same guys because the field was shaping up with Rory and Rahm, and Shane. We know we can do this… So if we can get the likes of Rory and Rahm signing up again we’re going to have some event.”