Posts Tagged ‘Irish Open’

“I’m almost prouder of what we’ve achieved this week off the golf course than on it,” insists Rory after Irish open success

May 23, 2016
Rory McIlroy with the Irish Open trophy

Rory McIlroy with the Irish Open trophy

They may have been tears of relief, they may have been tears of joy but either way it was clear that winning the Irish Open meant a great deal to Rory McIlroy.
“I had a little bit of time on the 18th green when Russell [Knox] and Danny [Willett] were finishing out, and I was trying to hold back the tears then,” said the 27-year-old.
“You know, golf-wise this week, it’s obviously very important to me but we’ve put a lot of work into this tournament and into the [Rory] Foundation, and we are going to help a lot of people from this week.
“I mean, we’ve already raised over half a million Euros going into today for the three chosen charities, and then all the winnings go towards that, as well. We’ve broken the million Euro mark this week, which is absolutely incredible.

“I don’t usually get emotional about golf or about wins, but this one, it means just a little bit more, because it’s not just for myself. It’s for a lot of other people.”

Three Dublin based charities – Barrettstown, Jack & Jill Foundation and the LaraLynn Children’s Hospice will benefit directly from the money raised this week which has been boosted by Rory’s winnings.

Rory added; “When we started the Rory Foundation, this wasn’t some plan that we had from the start. It was more me thinking, how can I, or as a team, how can I go to The Irish Open and it mean something more.
“I wanted a real, fulfilling reason to go back every year and give it my all.
“The night that I did with Alex Ferguson on Tuesday night raised a hundred grand. I got a couple of big donations at the start of the week. The prize money, the percentage from the ticket sales is going to the Foundation.
“I’m here for other causes, and that gives me more fulfilment than hitting those golf shots on 16 and 18.
“They are great, and in golfing terms, it’s fantastic but I’m almost prouder of what we’ve achieved this week off the golf course than on it.”

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Harrington looking forward to RCD Irish Open test

March 9, 2015

Harrington
In-form Padraig Harrington will be hoping to add a second Irish Open title to his glittering CV when he heads to Royal County Down for the Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation in May.
The 43 year old recently returned to the winners’ enclosure when he triumphed at the Honda Classic on the US PGA Tour, in doing so rising from 297th to 82nd in the Official World Golf Ranking.
The impressively clinical performance at PGA National in Florida was reminiscent of Harrington’s halcyon days of 2007, when he won the Irish Open at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort shortly before a period of domination in the Majors, during which he claimed back-to-back Open Championships and the US PGA Championship in little more than a year.
The popular Irishman ended a 25-year wait for a home winner at Adare Manor when he beat Welshman Bradley Dredge in a play-off, which was a fitting result after several near-misses, including when he was joint runner-up in 2001 and 2004 and tied fifth in 2005.
Harrington added another runner-up finish in 2010, and in 2012, when the tournament was played in Northern Ireland – at Royal Portrush – for the first time in its long history, he was tied seventh.
Three years on and the Irish Open is heading back north of the border, and the 14-time European Tour winner is relishing making his competitive debut at Royal County Down from May 28-31.
“The Irish Open is my fifth Major and always one of the first events on my schedule, for obvious reasons,” said Harrington, who was the European Tour Number One in 2006.

“Whilst it is always a special week for me, this year will be interesting as it’ll be the first time I’ve played at Royal County Down as a professional, so I’m really looking forward to getting there and seeing how the course has been set up.

“The last time the Irish Open was played in Northern Ireland, at Royal Portrush in 2012, it was a huge success and I was glad to be in the mix on the final day. The crowds were similar to a Major and generated a great atmosphere, and I’m sure it will be well attended again at Royal County Down.
“It’s great to see Rory involved and supporting the tournament, and it looks like it’ll be one of the strongest fields the Irish Open has ever had. It’s shaping up to be a great week and I look forward to being part of it.”
Harrington will be joined at Royal County Down by a star-studded field, including tournament host and World Number One Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Lee Westwood, Rickie Fowler and defending champion Mikko Ilonen.
More than 80,000 spectators are expected and tens of thousands of tickets have already been sold for the event, which is supported by Tourism Northern Ireland.
Anyone wanting to watch Harrington and co in action can purchase tickets at www.irishopen.ie Tickets cost between £30 and £35 per day and families will be delighted to hear that kids under the age of 16 will be admitted FREE as long as they are accompanied by an adult (up to four children are allowed with one paying adult).
For more information on the Irish Open 2015 or to purchase tickets, visit www.irishopen.ie For information on accommodation offers and golf in Northern Ireland, visit: www.discovernorthernireland.com/irish-open-2015

Irish Open at RCD on course for a sell-out

February 2, 2015
The European Tour’s Irish Open Championship Director Antonia Beggs and NITB’s Chief Operating Officer Kathryn Thomson

The European Tour’s Irish Open Championship Director Antonia Beggs and NITB’s Chief Operating Officer Kathryn Thomson

This year’s Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down might not tee off until May 28-31, but already it looks like the event is on course to be a sell-out.
The European Tour has revealed that tens of thousands of tickets have already been purchased for the event which will be hosted for the first time by World Number One Rory McIlroy’s  charitable foundation.
To put this into perspective, when the Irish Open was last held in Northern Ireland in 2012, tickets had not even gone on sale at this stage for the record-breaking Royal Portrush tournament which went on to become the first European Tour event to  sell out by the time of tournament week.
Expectations are high that this year’s Irish Open at Royal County Down, supported once again by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, will also sell out, particularly given the fact that the course holds significantly less spectators than Royal Portrush with tickets limited to 20,000 per day.
In 2012, Northern Ireland’s golf-hungry fans snapped up the vast majority of tickets but already, interest from outside of Northern Ireland has increased significantly for this year’s tournament with more than a quarter (27 per cent) of all sales to date coming from the Republic of Ireland (17 per cent), Great Britain (8 per cent) and the rest of the world (2 per cent).
The European Tour’s Antonia Beggs, Championship Director for the Irish Open, said: “Northern Ireland is home to some of the world’s best golf courses and the success of its golfers, led by Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke has led to an unprecedented level of interest in the region as a golf tourism destination.

“I cannot tell you how excited we are to be staging the event in 2015 on one of the best courses on the planet and with the likes of Rory and Rickie Fowler already confirmed, we are confident that this year’s line-up will be one to remember.  The public obviously shares our excitement as we’ve already sold tens of thousands of ticket for this year’s event, which is way ahead of any previous Irish Open at this early stage.”

Northern Ireland native and current world number one Rory McIlroy said:  “I am delighted that the Irish Open is being hosted at Royal County Down in 2015.  It is hugely exciting to be joining some of the world’s greatest golf talents on my home turf. Northern Ireland has established itself as one of the world’s greatest golfing destinations and Royal County Down is one of the world’s finest links courses.”
NITB’s Chief Operating Officer Kathryn Thomson welcomed the news that ‘out of state’ ticket sales had increased significantly.
“Through its players and its magnificent golf courses, Northern Ireland can rightly claim that it’s the home of golf and we are thrilled at the prospect of Royal County Down hosting the 2015 Irish Open,” said Ms Thomson.
“We are expecting another historic event in May and we are delighted that such a large number of tickets have already been sold.  It is particularly pleasing for us to hear that 27 per cent of tickets sold to date are from outside of Northern Ireland, with 17% from our neighbours in the Republic of Ireland.”
“We look forward to welcoming them all to Royal County Down,” she continued, “and we will be working to ensure a really memorable visit for all attending the Irish Open because we want them to come back to experience not only other aspects of our golf product, but the natural beauty of County Down, and what other parts of Northern Ireland have to offer.”
As well as the excitement on the course, there is a lot on offer for spectators at Royal County Down where the spectator village will include a number of bars and dining outlets catering for all tastes, interactive activities and a big screen showing the live action along with a live hole by hole leaderboard.
There will be a number of grandstands and leaderboards throughout the course on key holes with fantastic views over the links.  A small number of reserved grandstand seats are available on the 17th and 18th green side stands however the majority of grandstand seats will be free for any spectators.  Sunday’s reserved grandstand seats have already sold out.
And unlike Royal Portrush, ticket holders will be able to leave the course and re-enter at will if they want to discover what Newcastle and its surrounding areas have to offer.
More than 80,000 spectators are expected in total at the event.   Anyone wanting to see the stars and witness the action first hand can purchase tickets on http://www.irishopen.ie.  Tickets cost between £30 and £35 per day and families will be delighted to hear that kids under the age of 16 will be admitted FREE as long as they are accompanied by an adult (up to four children are allowed with one paying adult).
Corporate hospitality tickets are also available for the event at a cost of £300 + VAT per person.  Already sold out on Friday May 29, these exclusive tickets include course admission with reserved grandstand seat on the 18th green, an official programme, reserved VIP parking (for one or two people), and generous hospitality in the Grand Ballroom in the neighbouring Slieve Donard Hotel – including breakfast followed by a Champagne Reception, a buffet lunch served with fine wines, afternoon tea and a complimentary bar.
For more information on the Irish Open 2015 or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.irishopen.ie.  For information on accommodation offers and golf in Northern Ireland, visit http://www.discovernorthernireland. com/irish-open-2015.

 

Shaw seeking late season momentum at Galgorm Castle

August 27, 2014

gshaw
It’s been a frustrating 12 months for Gareth Shaw but he’s hoping that a return to familiar territory at Galgorm Castle will provide some much needed momentum heading into the final weeks of the season.
The Lurgan golfer, who twice won the North of Ireland Amateur Championship, is still chasing a maiden Challenge Tour title, having graduated from the Alps Tour in 2012 for a second spell on Europe’s second tier.
After a difficult summer however, the 28 year old has made five cuts in a row, including a tied eighth finish at the Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge last month, and is feeling like he is nearly back to his best.
“I had a very poor run of form three or four months ago, missed five cuts in a row, including the Irish Open which was very disappointing but since then I’ve actually started to play a lot better,” said Gareth who finished tied for 57th at last year’s event.
“I am starting to see better signs again and I’m looking forward to the golf I have left even though potentially I have only four more events left this year on the Challenge Tour.
“I played Galgorm on Friday and things felt solid. I am starting to see myself competing at least, shooting some decent numbers.
“I’m much happier with what is going on because it’s a lot different from last last year. I remember going up for a practice round and playing rubbish, really poorly but I had a decent start to the tournament, shooting a 68.

“This time around I am playing better, I’m more confident, so hopefully I can get off to another good start and press on this time.”

Gareth has recently started working with a German based Australian coach, Craig Hanson, and feels that things are ‘going in the right direction’ again.
“I played with an Australian called Terry Pilkadaris at the Scottish Hydro event at Macdonald Spey Valley,” added Gareth.
“It’s a demanding course off the tee but Terry had total ball control. It was the best I had seen in years in terms of control. I was struggling, missing it both ways and had no control in the wind.
“He advised me to go and see Craig and I’m glad I did, I was kind of lost at the time.
“The swing is only a small part of it, I also feel that I’m working harder away from the course in the gym and also at the other parts of my game, especially my putting.
“During that good run I had last year at the Irish Open and French Open I putted phenomenally well. This year I have not just been as strong in that department. I haven’t been knocking in those seven/eight footers for par that keep the momentum going.
“I’ve just got to try and stay patient but it has been pretty hard because I have been playing well of late but not kicking on over the weekend. It’s so close to coming together, that’s probably why it’s so frustrating.”

Hoey expects low scoring at Fota Island

June 19, 2014
Michael Hoey in action at the Northern Ireland Open Challenge

Michael Hoey in action at the Northern Ireland Open Challenge

The Irish Open is always one of the first tournaments pencilled into Michael Hoey’s schedule and this week’s staging at Fota Island brings back some special memories for the five-time tour winner.
In 2002, as a fledgling professional, Hoey missed the cut at Fota Island but he returns this time around as a seasoned campaigner.
“I think the scoring could be low this week. The greens are soft, there’s not that much defence with the weather being good so I expect some good scoring,” said the 35-year-old.
“Thinking back to 2002 the one thing I remember was just how good the greens were. The rough was thick and the weather wasn’t as good.
“They have tried to lengthen the course since then. With modern equipment the ball goes so much further, it’s not that I’ve got stronger.”
Currently ranking 44th in the Race to Dubai, Hoey has been working hard with coaches Johnny Foster and Justin Parson ahead of today’s opening round.
“They have both given me some really good information so I just have to take that on board myself now,” he added.
“My chipping hasn’t been great of late but a couple of little set-up things have made a big difference, I chipped in twice today in the pro-Am.”

Stern challenge promised at Fota Island for Irish Open

May 13, 2014
Shane Lowry at Fota Island

Shane Lowry at Fota Island

Irish golf’s biggest stars will be to the fore when the 2014 Irish Open takes place at Fota Island Resort, Co Cork, from June 19-22, in front of an expected attendance of over 100,000 in what promises to be an unforgettable festival of golf.
Major champions Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke along with European Ryder Cup captain, Paul McGinley, five time tour winner Michael Hoey and 2009 winner Shane Lowry will form part of an elite home challenge.
They will be joined by a quality field of previous European Tour winners and upcoming stars including young Italian superstar, 21-year-old Matteo Manassero, a four-time winner on the European Tour, who will make his third appearance at the Irish Open this year.
Manassero will be expecting some Irish support with his caddie, Dave McNeilly coming from Belfast and having worked for three-time Major Champion, Pádraig Harrington. England’s Paul Casey is set to make a return visit to Ireland to defend his 2013 title, but the Irish contingent is expected to be on top form and hungry to add to the four Championship titles on home turf in 40 years.
Launching the countdown to the 2014 Irish Open, Lowry said,“I’ve played the course at Fota Island a few times recently and it will be a difficult but fair challenge. I’m confident that it will suit my own game and I have a huge desire to repeat the feeling I had on the 18th green in Baltray five years ago. That’s the plan and that’s the goal and I can’t wait to get out there on June 19.”
The players will face a stern test on the Jeff Howes-designed Deerpark course and with precious Ryder Cup points on the line, the event promises to be one of the most competitive on this year’s European Tour International Schedule.
Since the Irish Open was played at Fota Island Resort in 2001 and 2002, the course has undergone extensive changes. Most recently, five tees have been extended, bringing the course to 7043 yards but it can feel much longer due to the five par threes.
The most significant change, however, and what will likely prove to be the legacy change for Fota Island Resort, is the dramatic adaptation made to the sixth. Working with the existing landscape, a new tee box has been created, with a spectacular 200-yard carry over a sea wall and the sea.
“We are very proud to welcome the Irish Open back to East Cork and Fota Island Resort” said Jonathan Woods, CEO of Fota Island Resort.
“Our team has been working hard in preparation across every aspect of the Resort both on and off the course. The course itself has never looked better. We’ve made some bold changes and many subtle ones in preparation for the return of the tournament, and in the new layout at the sixth we have created something dramatic, challenging and visually stunning that I believe will become our new signature hole.”
The event offers great value with advance tickets priced at €30 for an Adult Day Ticket (€35 at gate) and €70 for Adult Season Tickets (€80 at gate). Under 16s are free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Grandstands are free to the public but can also be pre-booked for €10 on Saturday and €15 on Sunday.
Corporate hospitality packages are available with prices starting from €245 available from www.irishopen.ie or www.cslhospitality.ie.
For tickets, prizes and more information visit www.irishopen.ie

copy courtesy of European Tour

Hoey reveals major ambitions

May 6, 2014
Tourism Minister Arlene Foster, European Tour player and Tournament Ambassador Michael Hoey, Ballymena Lady Mayor Audrey Wales and event sponsors

Tourism Minister Arlene Foster, European Tour player and Tournament Ambassador Michael Hoey, Ballymena Lady Mayor Audrey Wales and event sponsors

With almost half the European Tour season done and dusted, Michael Hoey finds himself in the enviable position of having already secured his ‘job’ for next season.
A consistent run of form has lifted the five-time tour winner to 34th in the Race to Dubai and he is now looking ahead to a string of big summer tournaments.
“I am working with Johnny Foster here and Justin Parson over in Dubai, both excellent coaches and I have got myself into a good place. I trust Johnny and Justin and I am not trying to change my swing all the time. The putting has also been really good and that is key to this consistent run,” said Hoey who was speaking at the launch of the NI Open Challenge which returns to Galgorm Castle from August 28-31.
The Ballymoney born golfer will again be the marquee name for the second staging of a tournament that drew in 22,000 spectators last year. Michael is now the club’s touring professional and sees the link-up as mutually beneficial.
“It’s a very progressive club. They have a lot of businesses going on. We all know it’s hard work for golf clubs at the moment but at Galgorm, they have the business centre and the garden centre amongst other things,” he said.
“They are continuing to work on the golf course as well and I count myself fortunate to be involved with them.”
Michael believes the NI Open Challenge fits perfectly into his schedule, coming as it does before what could be a hectic closing run of tournaments which could well take him all the way to the DP World Tour Championship in November.
For the moment however, his thoughts are on the summer campaign, which will see him play in Ireland, Germany, France and Scotland. He also has ambitions to play in both the US Open and the Open Championship.
He continued, “My next three events will be Spain (May 15-21), Wentworth (May 22-25) and Sweden (May-29-June 1). I would love to qualify for the US Open. It’s quite awkward because it’s the week before the Irish Open (June 19- June 22) but hopefully I can qualify and then worry about that later.
“Then it’s the Irish Open, Germany (June 26-29), French (July 03-06), Scottish (July 10-13) and The Open (July 17-20) . That’s five in a row.

“Obviously it would be great to qualify for The Open but look, it’s a nice problem to have, if you can get into all of them.”

Michael is now ranked 192 in the world [his best was 74th, after his win in Morocco in 2012]. Never one to really concentrate on his ranking, the 35-year-old is now looking to climb back into the world’s top 100.
“Being in contention is obviously the only way you can win things but it’s nice not to be as hot and cold because you just do not know where you are then. I have never been consistent enough to really focus on the rankings but getting back into the top 100 would get me into the US PGA (Aug 7-Aiug 10) and that is a real goal,” he said.
“I think I am a better player than I was two years ago and I got into the US PGA so I’m thinking why not do it again.”

Refreshed Maybin ready to start climbing the rankings

April 14, 2014

Gareth Maybin helps launch the Irish Golf Expo

Gareth Maybin helps launch the Irish Golf Expo

Gareth Maybin has endured a difficult start to the 2014 season but he returns to action this week in Malaysia confident of turning things around.
After missing five cuts in his opening seven European Tour events, the 33-year-old opted to take an extended six week break and has regained his enthusiasm for the game.
“To be perfectly honest, I played rubbish,” said Gareth who is currently ranked 187th in the Race to Dubai.
“I really needed the break just to freshen up. I had no interest in playing and you are wasting your time out there if you feel like that against that level of competition.
“I was fighting hard even to just miss the cut by a shot but now I feel that I am playing much better.
“I suppose, if you are going to play poorly, the start of the year is probably the best time to do it, because if you play well in the summer, you can move up the rankings pretty quickly.”
The Ballyclare golfer is planning to play a three week stretch in the far east, moving from the Maybank Malaysian Open (where he is first reserve), to China and then onto Singapore.
“It’s just a matter of confidence,” added Gareth.

“If I can go out there and get one good result, I feel pretty confident that several will follow.

“Golf is always about mindset. It is more mental than football or rugby, games where everything happens so much quicker.
“In golf, everything is so slow you have so much time to think and if you can learn to manage that time well, you can help yourself a lot.”
Maybin, who was speaking at the launch of the Irish Golf Expo* also weighed in on news that the Irish Open will return to Northern Ireland in 2015 at Royal County Down and 2017 at the Lough Erne Resort.
“Obviously they are two fantastic venues,” he said.
“I think both tournaments will be well supported not just by people from the north but also from the south as well. I think from that perspective, it will generate great interest.
“I have never played a competitive round of golf at Royal County Down. I never really get down there much but I actually made a point of going to play it again recently for the first time in six or seven years.”

* The Irish Golf Expo is a new event that will provide golfing enthusiasts from across Ireland the opportunity to attend a large scale golf exhibition. The exhibition will bring together global organisations to promote their products to a captive audience.
Venue – King’s Hall Belfast, Sat 20 September and Sun 21 September
http://irishgolfexpo.com/

 

Don’t get caught out, get your tickets early for the 2015 Irish Open at Royal County Down

April 3, 2014
 (L-R) Alan Clarke, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, First Minister the Rt. Hon. Peter D Robinson, MLA, George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster, Dr Peter Brown, Captain of Royal County Down Golf Club, and George Deane, Captain of Lough Erne Resort.

(L-R) Alan Clarke, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, First Minister the Rt. Hon. Peter D Robinson, MLA, George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster, Dr Peter Brown, Captain of Royal County Down Golf Club, and George Deane, Captain of Lough Erne Resort.

Don’t make the mistake of waiting until the last minute to get your hands on tickets for the Irish Open next year at Royal County Down.
The 2012 staging of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush broke box-office records with more than 130,000 people attending over the course of the week but those remarkable crowds are unlikely to be matched at RCD with Championship Director, Antonia Beggs, indicating that spectator numbers could well be ‘capped’.
“We would envisage this potentially becoming an all ticket event because we will cap the numbers which we would potentially not do at other venues,” said Antonia.
“We want to protect the course and the heather so we need to be careful, so I think it is sensible to err on the side of caution.”
When the Walker Cup was held at RCD in 2007, spectator numbers were kept below 10,000 a day but, European Tour Chief Executive George O’Grady, expressed his view that ‘with proper marshalling’, 20,000 a day should be ‘no problem’.
“The challenge is to make sure the staging enhances the beauty of the golf course. That is what I am focusing on now but I think we can fit in quite a few people here,” added Beggs.
“We will be building more grandstands than we did at Royal Portrush. We only had five months to plan in 2012 and it was in an Olympic year so it was actually very difficult to any kit by the time we staged the event.  But we have got a year now and I would love to see quite a few more seats on the golf course, it helps with the movement of the crowds.”
The Irish Open will be held at Royal County Down from May 28-31, 2015 and in 2017 at The Lough Erne resort.
Tickets can already be ordered via the European Tour website – http://tickets.europeantour.com/event/the-irish-open/royal-county-down-golf-club/782760

Thornton welcomes prospect of Irish Open on home turf at RCD

February 25, 2014

Apulia San Domenico Grand Final 2011 - Round 3
News that Royal County Down is being lined up to host the Irish Open in 2015 was music to the ears of European Tour professional, Simon Thornton.
The Bradford born golfer calls Newcastle home and hones his game on the famous links. The 36-year-old joined Royal County Down professional, Kevan Whitson, as an assistant 15 years ago before opting to go out on tour.
He has no doubts that Royal County Down would be a fantastic venue for the tournament.
“If it’s right it would be great,” said Thornton.

“The golf course could hold any event. We all know the quality of it and how highly it is placed in the world rankings.

“The only thing would be the issue of getting people around the course.
“The holes are quite tight together, and there are all the gorse bushes and things, but that can be easily accounted for.
“There’s plenty of hotels and places to stay in Newcastle and it’s really not that far from the likes of Newry and Banbridge – the infrastructure is already in place.”
The 2012 staging of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush was marked by record crowds with over 100,000 spectators thronging the links. The tournament returned to Carton House last year and will be staged at Fota Island in Co Cork this year. As yet, there has been no official confirmation from either the European Tour or Royal County Down regarding a venue for the 2015 staging.
Thornton meanwhile is more concerned with improving after a sluggish start to the 2014 season. He was due to play this week at the Tswhane Open in South Africa but a recent ankle injury put paid to those plans.
“It’s been average so far. I’ve played reasonably well without scoring well,” said last year’s winner of the Najeti Hotels et Golfs Open in St Omer.
“There was a bit of rustiness maybe in those early events. I was striking the ball pretty well but just not capitalising.
“I haven’t been taking my chances when I have got them. I have to step things up now and get back to where I was with the putting. Focus on getting the ball in the hole quicker when I get on the greens.”