Preparations ramped up for Irish Open

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European Tour branding now greets golfers at the first tee

By Richard O'Reilly

It's just over one month to go until the Irish Open takes place at Portstewart Golf Club.

The field is ever growing, with the likes of Spanish sensation Jon Rahm and 2013 US Open winner Justin Rose having been confirmed to join Rory McIlroy at his home tournament.

Work has been carried out ever since the announcement was made that Portstewart would replace Lough Erne as the host of the 2017 Irish Open.  With several holes on the Strand Course extended to challenge the professionals arriving in July.

Hospitality tents and the start of a grandstand engulf the 18th green

Currently hospitality tents are starting to pop up as the course prepares to welcome thousands of visitors to the north coast.

And the beginnings of a grandstand is starting to take shape near the 18th green of the Strand Course.

Organisers will be keen to see a repeat of this week's weather


Rory McIlroy heads into the tournament as defending champion, having picked up the Irish Open title at The K Club a year ago.  However the world number 3 pulled out of this week's PGA Championship at Wentworth because of a rib injury.

There's no shortage of talent to challenge tournament host McIlroy at Portstewart.  Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry have proven themselves more than adept at playing Links golf over the years.

While the aforementioned Jon Rahm is one of the best young ball-strikers on the tour.  Much will be expected of Rose too, who recently came within a whisker of winning his second Major at the 2017 US Masters in April.

2010 US Open winner Grahame McDowell will also hope to make a decent go of things, playing at a course some 5 miles away from his home town of Portrush. 

The Irish Open takes place at Portstewart Golf Golf Club on the 4th-9th July 2017


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