McIlroy's input making Irish Open unmissable
One of the best perks of being in the sports media is playing the Irish Open course a month before the tournament.
On one hole on the back nine at Royal County Down last week, a new patch of rough was noticeable, punishing wayward drives.
"Oh yeah, that's on Rory's advice," was the story - there is a different type of grass, grown inside the existing rough to make the course ready for a field featuring five of the world's top 20.
McIlroy, the event's ambassador, is very much in to the Irish Open. It may well be the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open for the foreseeable future but from now on it's also going to be the Rory McIlroy Open. His mates are coming and they're bringing with them their world ranking points and the world's media.
Royal County Down is a small site and will need quality engineering work to make sure the 20,000 daily crowds can see the golf comfortably but it will surely sell out every day.
From a point two or three years ago where the tournament had no sponsor and vague interest from the golf world, this is some tournaround. Making it McIlroy's tournament was a stroke of marketing genius that benefits everyone.
If you're wavering about going then stop. It's going to be great.