Next year's Irish Open may have to move due to scheduling issues surrounding the Olympics


Irish Open Facing 2020 Olympics Scheduling Headache

The Irish Open returned last week at Lahinch and was a fantastic tournament with a great winner and great crowds too.

Over 86,000 fans turned out for the event which was hosted in great fashion by Paul McGinley.

The tournament is a Rolex Series event and has been one of the biggest on the European Tour over the past couple of years with its spot at the start of the ‘links swing’, which sees the Irish and Scottish Opens take place in the weeks leading up to the Open.

It has been attracting strong fields with some of the world’s best wanting to play competitive links golf ahead of the Open Championship.

However, next year looks to be a big problem for the tournament as the Olympics takes place in Tokyo.

The games looks set to be bigger than last time out where players were pulling out left-right-and-centre with fears of the zika virus.

Both Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have already confirmed they want to play.

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Golf was back in the Olympics in 2016 and that caused some scheduling chaos, with the French Open and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational taking place in the same week as well as the USPGA Championship being moved forward to July.

The European Tour were dealt a bad hand three years ago and decided to not give Ryder Cup points to any player that teed it up in the WGC.

The 2020 games will shake up the calendar just like last time, and reports suggest that the new WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational is to be moved forward to the same week as the Irish Open.

The WGC-FedEx is going to clash with the men’s Olympic tournament so a new date will have to be found.

If it were to move to the Irish Open’s spot, it would mean that a Rolex Series event would take place at the same time as a World Golf Championship.

This means that the Irish Open will almost certainly move, putting an end to the European Tour’s links swing.

European Tour and PGA Tour chiefs Keith Pelley and Jay Monahan are meeting at Portrush next week during an IGF (International Golf Foundation) meeting.

Shane Lowry told the Irish Times that the tournament should move to the week before the BMW PGA Championship, which would make sense and allow it to perhaps go back to an inland course.

Next year’s venue and host haven’t been decided yet so that could still be a possibility.

Either way, after the huge schedule changes this year, next year looks likely to be interesting.

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