Irish Open still on Tour agenda
Despite the shock of losing the title sponsor, European Tour officials are very confident the Irish Open will go ahead as scheduled next year.
In fact, the Irish Open will appear on the 2011 Race to Dubai schedule when it is expected to be released later today in Dubai.
The venue will appear on the schedule as 'TBA', but Ireland's premier golf event will be staged from July 28 to July 31 for 2011.
Keith Waters, Director of International Policy with the European Tour, indicated the Tour has already begun working on finding a replacement sponsor after communications organisation '3' opted out with a year to run on their three-year arrangement.
"The Irish Open will go ahead because it is an integral event of the European Tour schedule and given also the exemplary strength of the Irish players on the Tour at the moment," said Waters.
"But it is early days yet as it was only recently that we were without a sponsor for next year, and obviously we hope to find another one. So yes, the Irish Open is continuing with full details to follow."
Copies of a preliminary 2011 schedule have been in players' hands for some weeks.
"The release of the 2011 schedule has been put back and back because we've been trying to lock in venues," Waters added. "It's been very difficult because we have wanted to release the schedule for weeks but we've delayed it for one or two good reasons. However, we've just got to the stage now that we have to announce it.
"We've been trying to sort out the China Open, the Malaysian Open and the new Johor Open. While they're not serious issues, you don't want to have a schedule full of 'TBAs' appearing where there should be a venue.
"We are hoping to announce the schedule on Tuesday, but unfortunately these little issues don't seem to be getting resolved.
"It's a fantastic-looking schedule with the addition of one to two more events compared to this season and with a similar overall prize fund."
Waters indicated that the Maderia Islands Open will now be the first European soil event of 2011. It is due to take place from February 24 to 27 -- in the same week as the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona.
The following week, the Tour will then head to Sicily for the inaugural Sicilian Open, but the English Open -- which was down for the first week in August -- will not take place.