Sun Sentinel
European Golf Tour
PGA European - Irish Open Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, July 28th through Sunday, July 31st
SITE: Killarney Golf & Fishing Club (Killeen Course), Killarney, Ireland
COURSE ARCHITECT: Dr. Billy O'Sullivan and Fred Hawtree (1972),
         Tom MacKenzie (2006 - redesign)
PAR: 71
YARDAGE: 7,161
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 377 Yds10 - Par 3 171 Yds
2 - Par 4 384 Yds11 - Par 4 486 Yds
3 - Par 3 200 Yds12 - Par 4 477 Yds
4 - Par 4 418 Yds13 - Par 4 501 Yds
5 - Par 4 454 Yds14 - Par 4 389 Yds
6 - Par 3 211 Yds15 - Par 4 430 Yds
7 - Par 5 513 Yds16 - Par 5 519 Yds
8 - Par 4 410 Yds17 - Par 4 389 Yds
9 - Par 4 393 Yds18 - Par 4 439 Yds
35 3,360 Yds36 3,801 Yds
Annual:  56th
Television:  Golf Channel - Thursday/Friday -- 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. (et),
  - Saturday -- 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (et),
  - Sunday -- 8 a.m.-12 p.m. (et)
Defending Champion:  Ross Fisher
Runner-Up:  Padraig Harrington
Tournament Record:  266 (Colin Montgomerie, 2001; Ross Fisher, 2010)
54-Hole Record:  198 (Rolf Muntz, 2000)
36-Hole Record:  129 (Patrik Sjoland, 2000; Shane Lowry, 2009)
18-Hole Record:  61 (Graeme McDowell, 2009 - County Louth Golf Club)
Course Record:  61 (Ross Fisher, 2010)
Total Purse:  $2,175,372 (1,500,000 euros)
Shares:  1st Place - $362,459; 2nd Place - $241,629; 3rd Place - $136,139
2010 Finish
Ross Fisher266Richard Green271
Padraig Harrington268Michael Hoey273
Gonzalo Fdez-Castano270Francesco Molinari274
Chris Wood270Brett Rumford275
Richard Bland271Joost Luiten275
Richie Ramsay275
Past Irish Open Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2010Ross Fisher (266) -- Padraig Harrington
2009*Shane Lowry (a) (271) -- Robert Rock
2008Richard Finch (278) -- Felipe Aguilar
2007*Padraig Harrington (283) -- Bradley Dredge
2006Thomas Bjorn (283) -- Paul Casey
2005*Stephen Dodd (279) -- David Howell
2004Brett Rumford (274) -- Padraig Harrington, Raphael Jacquelin
2003*Michael Campbell (277) -- Peter Hedblom, Thomas Bjorn
2002*Soren Hansen (270) -- Darren Fichardt, Richard Bland, Niclas Fasth
2001Colin Montgomerie (266) -- Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke,
Niclas Fasth
2000Patrick Sjoland (270) -- Fredrik Jacobson
1999Sergio Garcia (268) -- Angel Cabrera
1998*David Carter (278) -- Colin Montgomerie
1997Colin Montgomerie (269) -- Lee Westwood
1996Colin Montgomerie (279) -- Andrew Oldcorn, Wayne Riley
1995*Sam Torrance (277) -- Howard Clark, Stuart Cage
1994Bernhard Langer (275) -- Robert Allenby, John Daly
1993*Nick Faldo (276) -- Jose Maria Olazabal
1992*Nick Faldo (274) -- Wayne Westner
1991Nick Faldo (283) -- Colin Montgomerie
1990Jose Maria Olazabal (282) -- Frank Nobilo, Mark Calcavecchia
1989*Ian Woosnam (278) -- Philip Walton
1988Ian Woosnam (278) -- Nick Faldo, Manuel Pinero, Des Smyth,
Jose Maria Olazabal
1987Bernhard Langer (269) -- Sandy Lyle
1986Seve Ballesteros (285) -- Rodger Davis, Mark McNulty
1985*Seve Ballesteros (278) -- Bernhard Langer
1984Bernhard Langer (267) -- Mark James
1983Seve Ballesteros (271) -- Brian Barnes
1982John O'Leary (287) -- Maurice Bembridge
1981Sam Torrance (276) -- Nick Faldo
1980Mark James (284) -- Brian Barnes
1979Mark James (282) -- Ed Sneed
1978Ken Brown (281) -- Seve Ballesteros, John O'Leary
1977Hubert Green (283) -- Ben Crenshaw
1976Ben Crenshaw (284) -- Brian Barnes, Martin Foster, Billy Casper
1975Christy O'Connor Jr (275) -- Harry Bannerman
1974Not Held
1973Not Held
1972Not Held
1971Not Held
1970Not Held
1969Not Held
1968Not Held
1967Not Held
1966Not Held
1965Not Held
1964Not Held
1963Not Held
1962Not Held
1961Not Held
1960Not Held
1959Not Held
1958Not Held
1957Not Held
1956Not Held
1955Not Held
1954Not Held
1953E.Brown (272)
1952Not Held
1951Not Held
1950H.Pickworth (287)
1949H.Bradshaw (286)
1948D.Rees (295)
1947H.Bradshaw (290)
1946F.Daly (288)
1945Not Held
1944Not Held
1943Not Held
1942Not Held
1941Not Held
1940Not Held
1939A.Lees (287)
1938A.Locke (292)
1937B.Gadd (284)
1936R.Whitcombe (281)
1935E.Whitcombe (292)
1934S.Easterbrook (284)
1933E.Kenyon (286)
1932A.Padgham (283)
1931E.Kenyon (291)
1930C.Whitcombe (289)
1929Abe Mitchell (309)
1928E.Whitcombe (288)
1927George Duncan (312)

* - Won in Playoff

Note:Formerly called Carrolls Irish Open (1975-93), Murphy's Irish Open
(1994-2002), Nissan Irish Open (2003-06), 3 Irish Open (2009-10).

Top Contenders in the Field
Ross Fisher---------------T-5mcT-24T-50Won
Padraig HarringtonT-2T-6mcT-2T-511thWonT-31mc2nd
Chris Wood------------------------T-10T-3
G. Fdez-Castano------------mcT-44------mcT-3
Brett RumfordmcmcT-17WonT-49T-53T-52---T-8T-9
Darren ClarkeT-2T-27T-47T-6417th3rd---T-16T-14T-12
Paul McGinleyT-48---T-33T-5T-28wdT-58T-16T-67T-14
Shane Lowry------------------------WonT-21
Richard Finch------------T-22mcmcWonmcT-31
Graeme McDowell---T-27mcT-11mcmcT-31mcwdT-31
Rory McIlroy------------mc------7thT-50T-35
Damien McGranemc---T-47T-39---T-19T-12mcT-57T-35
Anthony WallT-15mc---T-26mcT-5mcT-10T-10T-39
Maarten LafebermcmcT-36---T-22T-5T-45T-3T-41T-53
Patrik Sjoland69thT-35T-52mcmcmcmcmcT-50T-66
Stephen DoddT-44T-53---T-39WonmcmcT-56T-25mc
Michael Campbell------WonT-22mcT-12mc---mcmc
Soren Hansen---WonT-62T-26T-57T-66T-37---T-57---
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Rory McIlroy
Darkhorse - Jamie Donaldson
Last Week's Pick to Win (Robert Karlsson) - Finished tied for 16th
Last Week's Darkhorse (Pablo Martin) - Finished tied for 4th
The European Tour heads to Ireland this week for the Irish Open. The last two major championship winners are in the field - Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke. McIlroy won the U.S. Open in June and Clarke captured the British Open two weeks ago. Fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell is also in the field. McDowell won the 2010 U.S. Open. They are joined by Ireland's Padraig Harrington, a three-time major winner and 2007 champion. McIlroy is the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 4 in the world.

Last year, Ross Fisher fended off a strong charge by Harrington to win. Fisher closed with a six-under 65 to claim a two-stroke victory. He ended his fourth European Tour victory at 18-under-par 266. Harrington was chasing his first title since the 2008 PGA Championship. His last non-major championship victory was at this event in 2007.

In 2009, despite missing a birdie putt on 18th hole in regulation, Irish amateur Shane Lowry was victorious thanks to a two-putt par on the third playoff hole. Lowry joined Pablo Martin and Danny Lee as the only three amateurs to win on the European Tour. He was the first player to win in his European Tour debut since American Ben Curtis won the British Open in 2003.

In 2008, Richard Finch fell into the water taking his third shot on the 18th hole in the final round, but it hardly mattered. He cruised to his second win of 2008 at this event. Finch shot rounds of 71-72-65-70 to take the tournament at 10-under 278. He won by two strokes over Felipe Aguilar at Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort. Gary Murphy was the top finisher from Ireland as he tied for third, three strokes back of Finch.

Harrington in 2007 held on to beat Bradley Dredge in a playoff to become the first Irishman in 25 years to win the European Tour's biggest event on the Emerald Isle. An exciting finish to the final round gave way to an anticlimactic playoff, when Dredge plugged his third shot at the par-five 18th into the bank of a pond on the way to a double-bogey. Harrington made par and became the first Irishman to win this event since John O'Leary in 1982.

In 2006, Thomas Bjorn birdied the 72nd hole on Monday to win. Bjorn closed with an even-par 72 to end at five-under-par 283 for a one-shot win over Paul Casey. Bjorn seemed out of the tournament after he opened with a six-over 78 in the first round and trailed by nine shots. A course-record-tying 66 got him back to even-par after two rounds and a five-under 67 in round three got him into contention. The tournament was plagued by weather issues causing the Monday finish. Bjorn's opening-round 78 tied the highest first round score by a winner in European Tour history, set by George Burns at the 1975 Kerrygold International.

There have been 11 playoffs in tournament history, including five of the last nine years. The eleven playoffs are the most at any one event on the European Tour.

In 2001, Colin Montgomerie became the fourth player in event history to capture this title three times, when he led wire-to-wire, defeating Harrington, Clarke and Niclas Fasth by five shots. Montgomerie joined Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer and Seve Ballesteros as a three-time winner.

There have been only five champions who have posted all four rounds in the 60s: 2002 - Soren Hansen (Fota Island) 69-69-64-68; 2001 - Montgomerie (Fota Island) 63-69-68-66; 1999 - Sergio Garcia (Druids Glen) 69-68-67-64; 1987 - Langer (Portmarnock) 67-68-66-68; 1984 - Langer (Royal Dublin) 68-66-67-66.

Montgomerie was the last player to win back-to-back (1996-97), while Faldo is the only player to win three consecutive years (1991-93). There have been four wire-to-wire winners: Christy O'Connor Jr. (1975), Langer (1987), Faldo (1992) and Montgomerie (2001).

Only seven times has an Irishman won this event: 2009 - Lowry (County Louth Golf Club), 2007 - Harrington (Adare Manor), 1982 - John O'Leary (Portmarnock), 1975 - O'Connor, Jr. (Woodbrook), 1949 - Harry Bradshaw (Belvoir Park), 1947 - Bradshaw (Royal Portrush) and 1946 - Fred Daly (Portmarnock). Americans have captured this event only twice, in 1976 and 1977, when Ben Crenshaw and Hubert Green won the tournament.

The Killeen Course at Killarney Golf & Fishing Club is hosting this tournament for the fourth time and second straight year. Faldo captured the first two Irish Opens held at Killarney in 1991 and 1992.

The European Tour moves to the United States next week for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio, where Hunter Mahan will defend his title.

07/26 16:15:41 ET

As of July 26, 2011, at 04:15 PM ET