Friday 24 January 2020

BMW Masters to join Euro schedule

THE event in which Rory McIlroy grabbed the biggest first prize in golf last October -- $2m -- will become part of the European Tour later this year.

Lake Malaren in Shanghai will play host again to the BMW Masters on October 25-28, with 78 players competing for $7m prize money.

"I am already looking forward to teeing off," said McIlroy, who beat American Anthony Kim in a play-off last season. "Thanks to the involvement of BMW (it was previously known as the Shanghai Masters) the tournament will now be one of the very best events in the world."

British Open champion Darren Clarke helped to launch the event during the Beijing Auto Show in the Chinese capital yesterday, teeing off from the BMW exhibition stand using an exploding golden ball.

R&A officials will closely monitor this summer's Irish Open at Royal Portrush as they weigh up the case for the famed Co Antrim course returning to the British Open roster.

With bumper ticket sales already reported for the Irish Open, particular attention will be paid to the way in which large crowds are accommodated on the links, which in 1951 became the only venue outside mainland Britain to host the Open.

Some 100,000 spectators will attend over six days at the Irish Open, with up to 20,000 at each of the four days of competition. Over 180,000 are expected at July's British Open at Royal Lytham, though that estimate is for eight days (from Sunday to Sunday).

Rugby

BRYAN REDPATH is still the front-runner to take over at Sale after their chief executive Steve Diamond's confirmation that they had begun discussions following his departure from Gloucester last week.

Diamond suggested that Redpath was also in the running for the vacant Munster post when he said: "I think Bryan has got interviews in Munster and possibly Bath so he's got a busy agenda in front of him."

But the indications from the Irish province yesterday were that the interview process to replace Tony McGahan has been completed. Forwards coach Anthony Foley remains favourite to take over.

Meanwhile, Australia yesterday confirmed McGahan's role as Wallabies coaching co-ordinator under Robbie Deans alongside forwards coach Andrew Blades and assistant coach Nick Scivener.

Motorsport

After one of the most controversial weekends in Formula One's history, Bernie Ecclestone did his best to put a positive spin on the turbulent events of the last seven days, insisting the Bahrain Grand Prix was in good shape and would remain on the calendar for years to come.

"You know what they say, there's no such thing as bad publicity," the sport's chief executive said yesterday. "We will be back here next year and for many years after, because they do a top-class job."

Irish Independent

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