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McIlroy backs move to Cork

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Rory McIlroy. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Rory McIlroy. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Rory McIlroy. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

WORLD number seven Rory McIlroy and Europe's Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley have backed the decision to move the Irish Open from Carton House in Kildare to Fota Island.

The June 19-22 tournament is to be held in Cork this year for the first time since 2002.

"I think it is great news the Irish Open will be played at Fota Island," twice major winner McIlroy said .

"The country's national open should be moved around to give everyone an opportunity to see the event and it also gives us the chance to show the world just how many amazing courses there are in Ireland," added the Northern Irishman.

McIlroy's views were endorsed by McGinley, who will lead Europe's Ryder Cup defence against the United States in Scotland this September.

"I'm delighted Fota Island is going to host the Irish Open," said the Dubliner. "The players will love the course and everyone involved with the tournament will enjoy the craic on offer in Cork."

The Fota Island Resort, recently purchased by Chinese investors The Kang Group, will also be an Irish Open sponsor.

Meanwhile, Simon Dyson faces an uncertain reception when he returns to action for the first time since he was given a suspended two-month ban from the European Tour at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

One well-respected player said the issue is a "hot potato" and he would prefer not to be paired with Dyson in the £1.6 million event.

"We just have to put the blinkers on and get on with it," added the player, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Dyson was joint second after 36 holes of the BMW Masters in October when he was disqualified for signing for an incorrect score in the second round.

The 36-year-old failed to add a two-shot penalty to his card after an incident on the eighth hole at Lake Malaren, when he touched the line of his putt after marking his ball, using the ball to flatten a spike mark.

Having reviewed the incident after being alerted to it by television viewers, European Tour officials charged Dyson with a serious breach of the Tour's code of behaviour, a charge which was upheld when the Yorkshireman appeared before a three-person disciplinary panel at Wentworth in December.

He was given a two-month ban from the European Tour, suspended for 18 months, but was cleared of "a premeditated act of cheating".

The panel, chaired by Ian Mill QC and made up of European Senior Tour player Gordon Brand Jnr and League Managers' Association chief executive Richard Bevan, found that Dyson deliberately pressed down the spike mark to improve his position, despite knowing it was against the rules.

OFFENCE

According to the panel, the "extreme seriousness" of such an offence "in the appropriate case" would warrant an immediate suspension, but Dyson's previous good conduct and the fact that it was a "momentary aberration on his part, not a premeditated act of cheating", was taken into consideration.

It is understood that a number of players feel Dyson got off lightly when he was penalised two shots in the 2009 Portuguese Open after being deemed to have have improved his stance after his ball ended up at the base of a bush.


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