Paul McGinley, the three-time Ryder Cup winner from Dublin, today hailed a new agreement between BMW and the Irish Open which confirms BMW’s status as Official Car to the event for the next three years.
The 2012 Irish Open will be played in Northern Ireland for the first time in almost 60 years when the iconic links of Royal Portrush hosts a tournament which includes several Major winners, most notably the current Open and US Open Champions, Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy.
McGinley, who visited Royal Portrush to help conclude the three-year agreement with Robert Frame, Business Development Manager of BMW in Northern Ireland, recalled some of his favourite memories of the world-famous course close to the Giant’s Causeway.
The 45 year old, who sank the winning putt in the2002 Ryder Cup at The Belfry, said: “I always loved coming here for the North of Ireland Championship as an amateur, although I didn’t quite manage to take away the silverware. I played in the final twice and lost to Darren Clarke and Garth McGimpsey.”
McGinley is thrilled that the Irish Open is being played at Royal Portrush, and he added: “It’s long overdue a return to Northern Ireland and it is massive news for the golfing public in the North, who can now enjoy the spectacle of watching Darren, Rory and Graeme (McDowell) on their home turf for the first time.
“The fact that the Irish Open is being played in Northern Ireland next month is a wonderful testament to the achievements of those three in recent years. Their successes will have a special resonance with the public and I think it’s safe to say that their reaction will emphasise that.”
Peter Walker, General Manager, Sports Marketing, BMW (UK Ltd), said: “BMW is delighted to extend its association with the Irish Open for a further three years. We are all excited at the prospect of the event being played at such a spectacular course and in front of some of the largest and most knowledgeable crowds in golf.
“As well as the Irish Open, BMW’s long-term commitment to The European Tour can be seen by its title sponsorship of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club, the BMW International Open in Germany and the recently announced BMW Masters in China. In addition, the company also supports 20 tournaments globally with ‘Official Car’ partnerships and was an Official Partner of The 2010 Ryder Cup at The Celtic Manor Resort.”James Finnigan, Commercial Director of the Irish Open, commented: “BMW is an outstanding long-term Partner of The European Tour in general and the Irish Open in particular. We are delighted to be able to extend our arrangement with BMW through until 2014 and to know that the players, officials and VIPs will have the best possible service during the tournament.”