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19/06/18 Ryder Cup hopefuls Pieters, Levy and Olesen chase Ballyliffin glory

Thomas Pieters

Thomas Pieters. Picture credit Getty Images


Thomas Pieters, a breakout star of The 2016 Ryder Cup, will be aiming to boost his chances of a return to Team Europe when he joins fellow hopefuls Alexander Levy and Thorbjørn Olesen at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation, the season’s fourth Rolex Series event.


The race for The Ryder Cup is intensifying, with just three months to go until Thomas Bjørn’s team arrives at Le Golf National in Paris hoping to reclaim the trophy by overcoming Jim Furyk’s American charges.


As one of the eight Rolex Series events on the European Tour’s 2018 Race to Dubai, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is an important tournament for those hoping to force their way into contention for Ryder Cup qualification.


Points earned at all events from the BMW PGA Championship up to Made in Denmark are multiplied by 1.5 for Ryder Cup qualification purposes while no points are available on any other tour during Rolex Series event weeks.


For Pieters, Olesen and Levy, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will represent a huge opportunity to play their way into the plans of Bjørn, who will also be present at Ballyliffin Golf Club in three weeks’ time.


Pieters knows all about making a late push for qualification – having won in Denmark just a month prior to The 2016 Ryder Cup to help earn a Captain’s pick from Darren Clarke. He soon justified that selection with a remarkable performance which made him the top points scorer for the away team despite a European defeat.


The Belgian is looking forward to returning to Ireland for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and feels like his game is tuning up nicely to hit a strong run of form at the most opportune time.


“I feel like my game is in good shape at the moment and I’m really looking forward to this run of Rolex Series events,” said Pieters. “The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is always a great tournament with incredible support so hopefully I can perform and it can provide the platform for a big summer.”


Frenchman Levy, meanwhile, maintains strong hope of fulfilling his dream to represent Europe in front of his home crowds and with one European Tour win under his belt already this season, a Rolex Series triumph would go a long way in securing his spot at Le Golf National.


“I am looking forward to playing Ballyliffin,” said Levy. “I have heard good things about the course and I am keen to improve my record at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. It is an important summer and the Rolex Series events are huge for us, so it should be a fun week.”


Olesen is a Rolex Series winner already this year, having emerged victorious at the Italian Open in June and, the Dane would love nothing more than to play his way into the reckoning for the September showpiece.


“I have played quite well in Ireland in the past so I’m looking forward to this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open,” said Olesen. “Winning a Rolex Series event was up there with the best moments of my career and to win at Ballyliffin would be huge for me.”


Tickets for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation are on sale at and begin at €20 for Pro-Am Wednesday, with tickets for Thursday and Friday costing €32 and day tickets for the weekend costing €34 each. An adult season souvenir ticket, which covers five days of world class golf from Wednesday to Sunday, costs just €110.


Concessions are available for customers aged over 60 and between 14 and 17, while children up to 13 are permitted free entry when accompanied by a ticket holding adult.


Fans will also be treated to a festival of music as country star Nathan Carter headlines the ‘Glashedy Sessions’ on the Friday night of the tournament. A host of exciting local bands will also entertain the crowds at the Glashedy Stage, including popular four-piece the Logues and regular favourites the Groove Robbers.


Official Hospitality tickets are also available on the ticketing page, or alternatively contact the European Tour’s dedicated Hospitality Sales Team, who will be happy to answer any queries and discuss the various hospitality options, on [email protected] or +44 (0) 1344 840681.


About the European Tour

The European Tour celebrates men’s professional golf on a global stage. In 2018, the European Tour International Schedule will feature a minimum of 47 tournaments in 30 countries, including eight Rolex Series events, all part of the Race to Dubai.


Celebrating the global connectivity of the European Tour and Dubai, the Race to Dubai is a season-long competition to crown the European Tour’s Number One player, an honour which in 2017 went to England’s Tommy Fleetwood for the first time, and which, since 2009, has also been achieved three times by Rory McIlroy, twice by Henrik Stenson, and once each by Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald.


Since its formation in 1972, the European Tour has witnessed 27 Members celebrate a total of 53 Major Championship titles between them, enjoyed ten Members attaining the pinnacle of World Number One and has celebrated its diversity as players from 36 different countries have won on the Tour.


The European Tour also manages the Challenge Tour, which featured 27 tournaments in 21 countries in 2017, and the Senior Tour, which featured 16 tournaments in 12 countries in 2017 and which, from the 2018 season onwards, will be known as the Staysure Tour. It is also the Managing Partner of Ryder Cup Europe, the body which, alongside the PGA of America, administers golf’s greatest team contest, The Ryder Cup. In 2018, the 42nd staging of the biennial contest between Europe and the United States of America will take place at Le Golf National, France, from September 28-30.


The European Tour broadcasts live coverage of its tournaments to more than 490 million homes in more than 150 countries every week, generating in excess of 2,200 global broadcast hours for each event. It also enjoys the support of many of the world’s leading business brands with Rolex, BMW, Emirates, Hilton and Titleist as Official Partners.


About the Rolex Series

The Rolex Series is the premium tournament category on the European Tour’s International Schedule, comprising eight events in 2018, staged in a variety of golfing locations around the world, each with a minimum prize fund of US$7 million.


Launched in 2017, the Rolex Series showcases innovation, enhanced broadcast and digital coverage, and world class players, with the list of champions in the first year comprising: Alex Noren (Sweden), Tommy Fleetwood (England), two-time winner Jon Rahm (Spain), Rafa Cabrera Bello (Spain), Tyrrell Hatton (England), Justin Rose (England) and Branden Grace (South Africa).


The 2018 roster of Rolex Series tournaments is: the BMW PGA Championship (May 24-27); the Italian Open (May 31-June 3), HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1); the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation (July 5-8); the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15); the Turkish Airlines Open (November 1-4); the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player (November 8-11); and the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai (November 15-18), where the leading golfer on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex will be crowned.

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