Lough Erne Resort 'extremely disappointed' to lose 2017 Irish Open
The new owners of the Lough Erne Resort in Co Fermanagh have criticised the European Tour’s decision to no longer host the 2017 Irish Open there.
The European Tour announced today that the 2017 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open would no longer be staged at Lough Erne, but the statement gave no details as to why the U-Turn had taken place.
Nor did it contain any information on an alternative location - though Portstewart in Derry has been mooted - for next year’s event which, based on previous tournaments, could see up to 100,00 spectators attend.
Keith Pelley, the European Tour Chief Executive, 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.”
In response to the development, the proprietors of Lough Erne issued a statement expressing their unhappiness with the actions of the European Tour.
“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.”
Meanwhile, the European Tour also announced today that Bank of Ireland has committed to sponsoring the Irish Open for the next three years. While Dubai Duty Free will remain the flagship sponsor, the bank will be a prominent corporate presence at the tournament.