The European Tour and 3, Ireland’s fastest growing mobile network, are pleased to announce that the 3 Irish Open will take place next year at the Killarney Golf and Fishing Club from July 29 to August 1, 2010.
It will be the third time that Killarney has hosted the Irish Open following consecutive events in 1991 and ’92. The venue also hosted the Challenge of Ireland on the European Challenge Tour in 2005 and 2006.
The tournament’s new prime slot on The European Tour is a major boost for title sponsors 3 and elevates the 3 Irish Open to the position of one of the most prestigious tournaments in European golf. The prize fund for the 2010 3 Irish Open will be more than €3 million.
The staging of the 3 Irish Open over the Irish August Bank Holiday weekend on the magnificent Killeen course, just weeks before the European Ryder Cup Team is announced, is expected to attract golf’s marquee names to the Co Kerry venue. Many will still be in the chase to secure a place on the European Team for the showdown with the USA at Celtic Manor in September 2010.
Robert Finnegan, Chief Executive of the title sponsor 3, said: “Last year we were very proud to come to the rescue of the Irish Open, Baltray provided a wonderful spectacle in spite of bad weather and produced a fantastic finale with Shane Lowry winning after the third play-off hole.
As part of the National Broadband Scheme, we’re bringing much needed internet connectivity to rural Ireland and we’re delighted to announce today that we are bringing a real tourism boost to Co Kerry with the 3 Irish Open 2010. Killarney’s Killeen is a magnificent course in an idyllic setting and we expect many of the world’s top golfers to take part in what will be a magical weekend in one of the world’s great beauty spots.
After robust negotiations with The European Tour, we are delighted to have a new, improved date and our move to Killarney reflects the importance the 3 Irish Open will play in the weeks leading to the selection of The Ryder Cup Team to take on the United States in Celtic Manor. It should also prove a big draw for golf fans to holiday in Kerry around the tournament and to enjoy the wonderful festival atmosphere we’ll bring to the Bank Holiday weekend.”
This year’s 3 Irish Open was the highlight of the sporting calendar, with amateur Shane Lowry delighting home fans during a fairytale play-off victory over England’s Robert Rock in Baltray.
Martin Cullen TD, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, said: "I welcome the announcement of Killarney Golf and Fishing Club as the venue for the 2010 3 Irish Open, in its new late July slot in the golfing calendar. This famous and prestigious venue, set amidst the magnificent scenery of the Lakes of Killarney, is an ideal location to show Ireland as a golfing destination to millions of television viewers and prospective visitors worldwide.
"I wish to congratulate Killarney Golf and Fishing Club who successfully hosted the event in 1991 and 1992. I also welcome the continuing title sponsorship provided by mobile communications company 3. It is enabling the 3 Irish Open to grow into one of the most important events on The European Tour."
He added: "The 3 Irish Open also receives significant Government support through Fáilte Ireland. The worldwide media coverage of the event is an important element in our overall strategy to promote Ireland as a golfing and holiday destination.”
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “We are delighted to see The 3 Irish Open returning to Killarney. The Killeen Course at the Killarney Golf and Fishing Club is a truly world class lay-out and befitting of such a prestigious tournament. There were many outstanding candidates to host next year’s Irish Open, but the commercial benefits attached to the new date and venue made Killarney an irresistible choice for 3.”
Three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington has played the Killeen course previously. He said: “The 3 Irish Open going to Killarney on this new date will make it a tremendous event. I believe the golf course is superb but I am 100 per cent sure that the venue would be very popular on the Tour with the players. That is very important - The Irish Open has to give a little bit more than other events: it has to give the whole package with people enjoying the whole week around the golf. That’s what The Irish Open did in the past and that’s what future Irish Opens have to do. We have to go forward and give a little bit more than everybody else. The guys will have a great time and I will be telling all the players to bring their families that week to have a great time regardless of how the golf goes. We have to deliver a little bit more than all the events on Tour.”
The Killeen course, which is the jewel in the crown of the three-course Killarney Golf Complex, was originally designed in 1972 by Eddie Hackett and Billy O’Sullivan. The Killarney lakes and high mountain range provide a stunning backdrop to this Championship course.
Re-opened in June 2006 the course is slightly longer with faster greens that have been brought closer to the water hazards around the course. At 6,564 metres it will challenge long hitters with accuracy being vital as there is water on many of its holes. It previously staged the Irish Open in 1991 and 1992 when Nick Faldo won back to back victories. It also played host to the Curtis Cup in 1996.
Maurice O'Meara, General Manager of the Killarney Golf and Fishing Club, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the news. Having hosted two previous Irish Opens in 1991 and 1992, it is with great pleasure that we look forward to welcoming back the leading European Tour players to Killarney in 2010. 3 the main sponsors should be congratulated on securing a fantastic date which is only a couple of weeks prior to Ryder Cup qualifying being finalised and this will ensure a very strong field for this event.
“Killarney Golf & Fishing Club will also have lots of family activities on-site during the event with kids’ play areas, open air barbecues, musical entertainment, and we hope to attract a large local, national, international audience. Killarney Town Council, Killarney Chamber of Commerce and Tourism and the Kerry Irish Hotels Federation have also committed to hosting a town festival in Killarney during this event.”
Redmond O’Donoghue, chairman of the national tourism development authority Fáilte Ireland, said: “This is great news. As a major international sporting event, it provides a great opportunity to showcase this country’s golf product and provide a worldwide window on Ireland as a holiday destination. The event will provide a great boost to the local economy in Kerry as well as signalling our ongoing commitment to the Irish Open as an effective marketing opportunity for Irish tourism. I am particularly happy that the Irish Open will take place during August next year, the height of the competitive golf season, and I believe that this is a great reflection of the growing importance of this event.”
For more information, visit 3golf.ie for details.