The 2014 Ryder Cup Captain hosts this week’s event through his Foundation and the tournament is being played in a place close to his heart, in Co. Donegal, Ireland, where he spent many happy years as a child.
Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort is home to three courses, with the Irish Legends being played on the Old Tom Morris Links, designed by the four-time Open Champion, and offers stunning views of Sheephaven Bay.
“My mum and dad are from here, just across the way in Dunfanaghy, for my dad, and my mum from Rathmullan, so I spent all my summers here as a kid, had a great childhood growing up here,” McGinley said. “I know this place intimately very well and it’s a place and part of Ireland that’s not really been as illuminated as we’d like it to be.
“We had a very successful Dubai Duty Free Irish Open just up the road in Ballyliffin a couple of years ago, which was great with unbelievable weather, and this is another opportunity to showcase the golf product that we have in Donegal. There’s some brilliant golf courses with great history with some of the greatest designers in the world attached to them, like this one here we have in Rosapenna.”
The three-time Ryder Cup winner has high praise for Rosapenna and is in no doubt as to what the reception from his fellow professionals will be.
“For me, it’s one of the most historic designers in Old Tom Morris being associated with this golf course,” he said. “The back nine that we play here this week is absolutely fabulous, the Old Valley holes as we call them, and it’s a testament to the players. They’ll love it. It could grace an Open Championship, it’s that good, the condition is amazing and it’s a part of Donegal that should be showcased a lot more than it has been. If Donegal was a stock, I’d be buying it at the moment. I really do think it’s at the edge of being big now.”
Joining McGinley in the field in Donegal are fellow Ryder Cup Captains Thomas Bjørn, Mark James and Ian Woosnam, as well as 1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie, 2021 Senior Open Presented by Rolex winner Stephen Dodd and two-time Senior Major Champion Roger Chapman.
Welshman Dodd, who sits second on the Order of Merit, is the highest-ranked player in the field this week and a victory would see him leapfrog Germany’s Alex Čejka as the race to capture the John Jacobs Trophy continues apace.
The Irish Legends presented by the McGinley Foundation will be played in the popular Alliance Pro-Am format, where one amateur player competes for their own prize alongside two professionals in all three days of the tournament.
The action gets under way at 8:00am local time on Friday August 20, with McGinley set to tee it up alongside Clark Dennis, of the United States, at 9:00am.