Posts Tagged ‘Keith Pelley’

Lough Erne misses out on Irish Open amid claims Euro Tour is now pursuing ‘links strategy’

April 12, 2016
The 10th at Lough Erne

The 10th at Lough Erne

There is a great sense of frustration in the statement released by the owners of the Lough Erne Resort following the European Tour’s announcement that the Co Fermanagh venue would not be hosting the Irish Open in 2017.
Tourism NI officials were informed at the weekend of the European Tour’s decision and Monday’s official confirmation only served to rubber-stamp what was already a widely held belief.

Read this report from earlier in the year.
http://www.newsletter.co.uk/sport/golf-news/lough-erne-resort-insist-plans-are-in-place-to-host-irish-open-2017-1-7189096

EUROPEAN TOUR STATEMENT
The European Tour can today confirm that the 2017 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation will not take place at the Lough Erne Resort.
European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley said: “During a recent visit to the Lough Erne Resort, I was delighted to meet with the owners and to learn more about their significant investment plans for the golf course and hotel. It is a beautiful facility with an outstanding championship golf course designed by Sir Nick Faldo.
While the 2017 Irish Open will not be staged at Lough Erne, the European Tour looks forward to working with the new ownership consortium, and I am confident that the Lough Erne Resort will host an event with the European Tour in the future.
“Details of the 2017 venue will be announced in due course, but in the meantime we are solely focused on ensuring that the 2016 tournament, which will be staged at The K Club in County Kildare in six weeks’ time, is a great success.”

It looks like there is a promise of an event of some type in the future but that will be of little consolation for everyone at Lough Erne and in Fermanagh as a whole.
The Irish Open is big business and usually provides a major boost to the local economy. It appears that Portstewart GC will reap the rewards, particularly as according to the Lough Erne statement the European Tour is now pursuing a ‘traditional links course strategy’.

LOUGH ERNE RESORT STATEMENT
“We are extremely disappointed that the European Tour has announced a change in its decision to hold the 2017 Irish Open Championship at Lough Erne Resort. From the day we acquired the Resort, we have been excited and committed to hosting the event, and we have never waivered from that commitment.
We have in fact continued to make additional investments in the course and the Resort facilities, both of which are in superior condition to when the 2014 announcement was made.
But, over the last several months, senior tour officials began telling us that European Tour management was considering a ‘traditional links course strategy’ for future Irish Opens, and because of that new strategy there had been indications that the 2017 date at Lough Erne might be in jeopardy.
From the beginning of those conversations, we have remained steadfast in our position not to accept this change from the Tour, and we have spent the last few months trying to work with Tour officials at the highest level to persuade them to keep their commitment to Lough Erne Resort and the region.
However, despite our willingness to work with the Tour in every way to convince them to maintain their commitment, they have made the decision to change the venue to a traditional links course in 2017 and at this point we have no choice but to accept it. We are disappointed not only for the Resort, but also for our staff and the good people of County Fermanagh.
We have to accept the decision that the Tour has made, with its strategic commitment to links golf in the Irish Open for the near future, and we do welcome the decision to keep the Open in Northern Ireland next year.
If and when that strategy changes, Lough Erne Resort looks forward to being first in line to host the next Irish Open that is not on a links course.
We would like to thank all of those that worked so hard on initially obtaining this event for Lough Erne Resort. We would especially like to thank officials of the Northern Ireland Government for their unwavering support for Lough Erne Resort and for doing everything possible to avoid this outcome.
While we are clearly disappointed with the European Tour’s decision, the Resort’s ownership group remains committed to working with Tour officials towards bringing a future Irish Open or an equivalent event to Lough Erne Resort.”

A ‘links strategy’ has long been mooted for the Irish Open but to my mind, this is the first time it has been referred to as tour policy. It will be interesting to see if Tour officially confirm that they only want to take the Irish Open to links venues in the future. If that’s the case, the likes of Mount Juliet and the soon to be refurbished Adare Manor Resort might be reconsidering their own ambitions.
On a more positive note the Lough Erne statement reveals that the Irish Open will return to Northern Ireland in 2017 although, once again, that has clearly not been confirmed by the European Tour.
If the Tour is following a links strategy, then by a process of elimination, Portstewart will be the host venue given that Royal Portrush is currently being redeveloped for The Open and Royal County Down is highly unlikely to take it back so soon after the staging in 2015.
None of this will be going down well amongst the corridors of power at the NI Executive who made a significant commitment to the European Tour in 2014 when the Lough Erne announcement was first made.
If the tour is working on a links course strategy then it flies in the face of the government’s strategic plans to grow the value of the golf tourism business in Northern Ireland. Could that jeopardise any further financial and logistical investment from the Stormont Executive in the Irish Open??
For background on the NI Golf tourism strategy read – The Irish Open, Lough Erne and the government’s £50million tourism strategy

A spokesperson for Tourism NI said; “Together with the NI Executive, Tourism NI has been working towards staging the tournament at Lough Erne Resort, as announced by the European Tour in April 2014.
“We are therefore extremely disappointed at today’s decision by the European Tour not to stage the Irish Open at Lough Erne in 2017, which was formally communicated to us over the weekend.
“We have requested an urgent meeting with the European Tour to discuss options open to the Executive following the announcement, and where this decision leaves plans for the return of the Irish Open to Northern Ireland which is a matter of contractual agreement.
“We welcome the European Tour’s commitment to Lough Erne in the future and expect these plans to be forthcoming as a matter of urgency.”
Advertisements

Rory committed to European Tour

February 18, 2016

roryriviera
This will have been music to the ears of Keith Pelley, CEO of the European Tour.
Rory McIlroy, who is making his 2016 PGA Tour debut today at the Northern Trust Open, will not be turning his back on Europe.
“I’m a European. The European Tour gave me so many opportunities at the start of my career and I’ll always be indebted to them and I’ll always go back and play, and I never see a time when I won’t be a European Tour Member,” said the world number three and reigning Race to Dubai champion.
Rory’s playing schedule takes him all over the world competing on both the PGA Tour and the European Tour.
It’s a lifestyle that has it’s advantages – offering him the opportunity to play in different environments and experience new cultures but he admits the travelling can be wearing.
“I had not spent a night in my own bed in Florida – I got there on Monday after Dubai. I spent a night there in September, and before that, I stayed there the week before the U.S. Open in June. That was the last time I was in my house in Florida,” said Rory.
“So it’s nice to have a base and that’s why I love this time of the year, because I can go home on a Sunday night even in between tournaments and get a couple of nights in my own bed and fly out again. That’s the nice thing about just playing this tour.”
Rory is embarking on a run of five tournaments in six weeks that will bring him to the opening Major of the year – The Masters.
He added; “I think the Masters at this point of the year is on pretty much everyone’s mind. You’re building up to it. You’ve got some great events in between now and then, but obviously I’d love my game to be in peak shape for Augusta in April.”

http://www.pgatour.com/video/2016/02/17/rory-mciroy-news-conference-before-northern-trust.html

 

The Irish Open, Lough Erne and the government’s £50million tourism strategy

February 1, 2016
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - OCTOBER 20: The approach to the 637 yards par 5, 9th hole 'Halfway House' on the Faldo Championship Course at Lough Erne Resort on October 20, 2010 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

The approach to the 637 yards par 5, 9th hole ‘Halfway House’ on the Faldo Championship Course at Lough Erne Resort

You may have read or heard some of the golf chatter about the Irish Open and the Lough Erne Resort during the week.

The short version goes like this – Back in April 2014 the European Tour, the Northern Ireland Executive and Tourism NI unveiled a deal to bring the Irish Open to Northern Ireland in 2015 (Royal County Down) and 2017 (Lough Erne Resort).
Last Thursday, whilst announcing ambitious plans for the 2016 staging at the K Club http://bit.ly/1VA6JvB, a European Tour representative made it very clear that no decision had been taken about a venue for 2017.
Naturally enough this caused a certain amount of confusion and I dare say, consternation, for the good people at Lough Erne who, it should be known, spent last week at the PGA Show in Orlando marketing themselves as the ‘Home of the 2017 Irish Open’.
In response, Lough Erne issued a very bullish statement on Friday, in which they made it clear that as far as the owners and management were concerned, it was business as usual and they were planning to host the Irish Open in 2017.

You can read full details here:-
http://Lough Erne could miss out on 2017 Irish Open http://www.newsletter.co.uk/sport/golf-news/lough-erne-could-miss-out-on-2017-irish-open-1-7187154

http://Lough Erne Resort insist plans are in place to host Irish Open 2017 http://www.newsletter.co.uk/sport/golf-news/lough-erne-resort-insist-plans-are-in-place-to-host-irish-open-2017-1-7189096

You may think, so what – as long as the Irish Open is successful, draws decent crowds, has a large prize fund and attracts some of the world’s best players you don’t care where it’s played, North or South of the border.
You may even be of the opinion that the Irish Open should always be on a classic links course and in an ideal world it would be played before the Open Championship as part of a ‘links swing’ alongside the Scottish Open.
Which is all well and good but the Irish Open exists in the real world and there’s politics in play here – not just golf politics – proper government politics.
In March 2015 Northern Ireland’s First Minister, Arlene Foster – who was then the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment – launched a strategy which aims to grow the value of golf tourism in Northern Ireland to £50 million a year by 2020.

You can read it yourself here – http://bit.ly/1nxSpsp

Major golfing events such are the Irish Open are considered – ‘key economic drivers’ and to all intents and purposes Northern Ireland looked to have got things perfectly organised – Irish Opens in 2015, 2017 and then the Open Championship at Royal Portrush in 2019.

Based on the strategy. taking the Irish Open to Lough Erne is part of a wider plan to prove that the Northern Ireland golf product has more to offer than simply links golf – which makes sense when you are trying to grow an entire sector by £17 million in five years. For the strategy to work, the ‘hidden gems’ and the established parkland venues all have to increase visitor numbers.

The issue facing Tourism NI and the Stormont Executive is that things have changed outside of the control of government.
In the intervening 12 months or so, the Irish Open has been backed very publicly by Rory McIlroy and his Rory Foundation – which is doing some great charitable work  – and a sponsor has come on board in shape of Dubai Duty Free.
The Irish Open is no longer the poor relation relying on government support and the good graces of the European Tour to survive.
When you add into the mix a new CEO – Keith Pelley – who has taken control of the European Tour, there’s every opportunity for some conflict amongst all the interested parties.

Pelley has already made some difficult decisions in his short time in office – he took a firm stance regarding the French Open and the WGC event http://po.st/hXbNJf – so it will be interesting to see how he negotiates his way through this issue.