World Number One Rory McIlroy today paid tribute to the “incredible” home fans who make the Irish Open so special – and admitted that he would love to win “a few” Irish Opens during the course of his already glittering career.
The 23 year old Northern Irishman, who yesterday earned the accolade of European Tour Golfer of the Year to set alongside the Association of Golf Writers Trophy and US PGA Tour Player of the Year awards, confirmed his decision to compete at Carton House in Co. Kildare from June 27-30 and declared: “It’s very special because it’s my home event.
“The history of the Irish Open is very special too, with such a great list of champions from Nick Faldo to Seve (Ballesteros), Bernhard Langer, Sergio Garcia and Padraig Harrington. So many European greats have won that tournament and I think that’s what makes it so special.”
McIlroy was bowled over by the astonishing support that he, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke received in their native Northern Ireland at Royal Portrush earlier this year, when European Tour attendance records were smashed.
He insisted: “The fans are incredible. Obviously the support I get back home is unbelievable but the support the Irish fans give in general is great. They are very knowledgeable and I think Portrush this year, with its record attendances, was just incredible, seeing so many people come out to watch us play.”
McIlroy, who will be targeting a third Major Championship in 2013, will be competing in his seventh Irish Open and his second over the Montgomerie course at Carton House.
The global superstar of today was just a 16 year old amateur when the event was played at Carton House in 2005, when McIlroy missed the cut. He recalled: “I like Carton House and I’ve a little bit of history there. It was the first Irish Open I played, over the Monty course, and I have great memories of going down there (from Belfast) as part of Irish amateur squads. it’s a place I enjoy going back to.”
Since then, the 2011 US Open Champion and 2012 US PGA winner has contested a further six Irish Opens, with his best finishes coming at Adare Manor in 2008 where he finished seventh and this year’s event in Portrush where he was tenth behind Welshman Jamie Donaldson.
The challenge of following in the footsteps of Harrington (2007) and Carton House’s Touring Professional, Shane Lowry (2009), is a prime target for McIlroy in 2013 and beyond. He added: “Winning the Irish Open would be very special.
“I know Padraig Harrington has talked a lot about how he felt when he won and how proud he was of that achievement. I’d love to win it, although it’s tough to play in front of your home crowds at times. It brings its own pressures and you want to do so well for them and they live and breathe every shot with you!
“When you make a bogey there’s a big ‘aahhhh’ and when you make a birdie there’s a big roar and it’s tough sometimes not to try to too hard - but hopefully I am not going to win not just one Irish Open but a few Irish Opens in my career.”
Golf fans can now take advantage of what promises to be another thrilling Irish Open by buying tickets at discounted prices before the New Year.
A season ticket for all four days can be bought for €60 before 31st December, a saving of €10 on next year’s pre-tournament prices and €20 on admission at the gate.
Adult day tickets are priced at €25 before 31st December, rising to €30 pre-event and €35 on the gate.
Concessions (60 and over) start at €40 for a season ticket and €15 for any one day tickets if purchased this year. Under-16s accompanied by an adult are admitted free of charge and all car parking is also free. Reserved grandstand seating can also be purchased immediately for Thursday, Friday and Saturday (€10) and the Sunday (€15) of the event. No concessions of other discounts apply.
Additionally, as part of the Irish Open ticket campaign, fans of golf and horse racing can enjoy both sports on the same day – Saturday, June 29 – by purchasing a specially priced ‘Irish Double’ ticket to enjoy the third round of the Irish Open and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Day for a combined price of €50.
Corporate Hospitality packages are also available with prices ranging from €245 to €295 (plus VAT). For all enquiries please contact Joanne in CSL Hospitality on 01 676 6650 or firstname.lastname@example.org For further information please visit www.cslhospitality.ie
Full ticket information can be found at: www.europeantour.com/tickets or telephone Ticket Hotline: +440800 023 2557. Irish callers can phone: 1890 252 698. Postal enquiries should be sent to: European Tour Tickets, Mirren Court Three, 123 Renfrew Court Three, Paisley, PA3 4EA.