Harrington swings into action
TOP golfer Padraig Harrington will not be charging for his role in promoting Ireland to overseas golfers.
The three-times major champion has been appointed as an ambassador for Irish golf.
Harrington will not be drawing a pay cheque in his efforts to attract more tourists to Ireland to play golf, as he said he was already well looked after by his sponsors and didn't need to be burdening taxpayers for his efforts.
"I don't need to be taxing the Government at this time," he declared to the delight of Tourism, Culture and Sports Minister Mary Hanafin, who praised him for his patriotism.
Harrington said he was delighted to formalise his role as the face of Irish golf, allowing his image to be used on websites and advertising as a focal point to bring golfers to Ireland.
The number of golf tourists visiting Ireland has dropped from a high point of 185,000 in 2007 in the afterglow of the Ryder Cup to the present figure of 150,000 a year, but Failte Ireland is hoping to boost those numbers with a campaign featuring Harrington as its poster boy.
The international star said he was not being paid for his role in promoting Irish golf as "my sponsors pay me enough that I can do something like this purely for the benefits. . . I feel good about doing something good essentially", he said.
The golfing ace is worth around €35m, according to the latest 'Sunday Times' Rich List.
Failte Ireland said it had doubled its marketing budget for golf to €1.5m to entice more foreign players, and is developing an online system to help them book tee times in advance .
Karl McGinty: Sport, Page 66