Newly crowned US Open Champion Rory McIlroy will headline the field for this year’s Irish Open, along with fellow Major Champions Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell, as well as defending champion Ross Fisher and Europe’s most recent Ryder Cup Captain, Colin Montgomerie, at the magnificent Killarney Golf & Fishing Club from July 28-31.
Last year’s Irish Open provided the perfect global marketing platform for Ireland as over 82,000 fans flocked to Killarney - one of the country’s most spectacular destinations - to create one of the highlights of Ireland’s sporting calendar.
As Ireland’s National Tourism Agency, Fáilte Ireland is a long-term investment partner with The European Tour in their bid to build on the huge success of last year’s tournament. The European Tour has reached an agreement with Fáilte Ireland this year to rename the €1.5 million event as ‘The Irish Open presented by Discover Ireland’.
Stressing the importance of the Irish Open for sport and tourism in Ireland, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD, pointed out:
“The Irish golfing community meets and welcomes almost 150,000 visitors annually. Golf is one of Ireland’s greatest tourist attractions, contributing an estimated €110 million to the economy. The Irish Open provides a wonderful advertisement for golf in this country as well as showcasing the two ingredients we are most famous for – our beautiful green scenery and our warm and friendly people”
“Irish golf has taken the world by storm in recent years and our players’ success has generated great interest in coming to the island which has produced such great golf. It is imperative that we build on this momentum and the Irish Open provides us with another platform to do that. I wish all involved the best for what I am sure will be another memorable tournament in Killarney .”
The Chairman of Fáilte Ireland, Mr Redmond O’Donoghue, today emphasised:
“As a national tourism development authority, we in Fáilte Ireland remain committed to the Irish Open and fully appreciate the return it provides us in terms of advertising and exposure globally. With the recent renaissance in Irish Golf, it will be a superb opportunity for thousands of visitors and millions of television viewers to watch many of the great players from this Island who have led that resurgence – including Rory Mc Ilroy, Graeme McDowell, Shane Lowry and Fáilte Ireland’s official Golf ambassador, Padraig Harrington”.
“We are particularly pleased that the event is once more taking place in Killarney – with its beautiful course and stunning landscapes showing this country off to best effect. I have no doubt that during this year’s event both players and venue will do the business for Irish golf and tourism.”
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “In these challenging economic times, the continued strong commitment of Fáilte Ireland to The Irish Open is extremely positive news as we build up to the tournament. There cannot be many more suitable areas in the country to promote Ireland as a tourist destination than Killarney, and we trust that the Discover Ireland brand will achieve a significant return on this investment.
“With a potential worldwide television reach of 400 million homes, we believe that sponsorship of The Irish Open offers outstanding value to any sponsor, and we hope to see a repeat of the very special scenes at the Killarney Golf & Fishing Club last year when the Irish Open re-established itself as one of the premier events on The European Tour International Schedule.”
Tickets to The Irish Open presented by Discover Ireland are currently available at discounted prices, while offering one lucky fan the chance of a lifetime to win a place alongside Rory McIlroy in the Pro-Am on Wednesday, 27 July.
Tickets are now available from www.europeantour.com/tickets where anyone purchasing a ticket who is 16 years old or over on July 27, 2011 – and in possession of an official handicap - can enter the prize draw to play alongside McIlroy. The competition closes for entries at midnight on Wednesday 20th July, 2011. European Tour Terms and Conditions apply.