The Irish Open will return to Fota Island Resort this year after being played there last in 2002. This will provide great news for the people of Cork and also Fota’s recent Chinese investors, The Kang Group Worldwide, who will be looking to showcase their new venue to golfers around Ireland, Europe and the World. There is no specific news on the future venues for the Irish Open but with many sponsors already committed to supporting the tournament, including The Kang Group itself, it promises to be a great few days at Fota! The date straight after the US Open is not particularly ideal still especially with it being followed by the BMW International, French Open, Scottish Open and The Open Championship as some players will take at least 1 week off between the US Open and Open Championship. The August Bank Holiday date that Killarney enjoyed was fantastic for fans although it would now clash with the WGC Bridgestone Invitational now, it’s tough to fit all these tournaments in to maximise the best fields but I think the Irish Open should start getting a better slot on the calendar with the event getting some security in the coming years.
The news has been heralded by many Irish tour professionals, including World no.7 Rory McIlroy who stated: “I think it is great news that the Irish Open will be played at Fota Island……..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. Fota Island will be an exciting venue for the Irish Open, and exactly the kind of place to showcase what Ireland has to offer as a golf destination.”
There have been quite a few changes to Fota since they last hosted the Irish Open in 2002, with significant investment in the Resort facilities itself along with much real estate being built and also an additional 9 holes to add to the Championship 18-hole course that hosted the 2001 and 2002 Irish Opens. It has always been a course kept in great condition and I’m sure this will be no different when June comes around.
It is also great to see the tournament supported locally by Cork City and County Councils as well as from the private sector in the form of BAM Contractors. Having such support on board already will take a lot of pressure off courting sponsors over the coming months, will this give the European Tour and/or Fáilte Ireland the opportunity to secure the future of the Irish Open with venues and also sponsors? I definitely hope so!
Advance tickets for the 2014 Irish Open are on sale now at a special promotional price of €25 for Adult Day Tickets and €50 for Adult Season Tickets (concessions €15 and €30). A limited number of tickets at those promotional prices – saving up to €10 for a day pass and €20 for a season – on the gate prices are currently available on a first come first served basis. Golf fans are encouraged to apply now for tickets on www.europeantour.com/tickets or www.irishopen.ie
When the sun shines at the Irish Open there are few better places to be and Cork is also great “craic” at tournament time as well………just don’t tell those langers that, they know that already!!