Killarney keen to bring 2012 Irish Open back to Kingdom
Published 02/08/2011 | 05:00
THE Irish Open MUST go back to Killarney in 2012. The final call is likely to rest with the event's new sponsors -- negotiations with insurance giant Zurich for a three-year deal are close to completion.
With Royal Portrush and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board hoping to bring a European Tour event to Antrim in 2013, Killarney seems certain to get another bite of the cherry in 12 months' time.
It's believed the new sponsors considered moving the event closer to Dublin -- but they were bowled over by the atmosphere in Killarney last weekend.
Killarney Golf and Fishing Club want the event back. "We'll talk to the Tour when the dust settles next week," said club general manager Maurice O'Meara.
Conceding that the decision will be largely "sponsor-driven", he added: "Having heard different conversations and spoken to people during the week, I think the new sponsors would be mad not to come back here on their first year."
Having ploughed €400,000 into course development for the 2010 Irish Open and another €200,000 this year, the club certainly deserves an opportunity to earn back some of that investment by staging the championship in 2012.
If Killarney helped restore the Irish Open to former glories, next year's event is likely to move forward a week into a more favourable slot on the schedule immediately after the British Open.
With the British Open pushed back a week to July 19-22 in 2012 and the Nordea Scandinavian Masters expected to take place in June, Ireland's blue riband will fill the resulting gap, putting a vital one week buffer between it and the Bridgestone World Golf Championship at Firestone.
•RORY McILROY was back on Twitter on Sunday -- only this time his tweet raised a chuckle as the 22-year-old explained to a fan why he was 'so moody' at the Irish Open. "Because I played crap," he replied.