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Irish Open


Open K


illarney was its usual majestic self, the television pictures showed it off to a fascinated worldwide audience, the galleries turned up in their colourful thousands.


What could anyone have demanded of the Irish Open? True, the prize fund took a serious hit on the previous year but to their


great credit, many leading Tour members including all of Ireland’s four major champions committed themselves to the tournament. Indeed, the sense of expectation could not have been greater given that Rory McIlroy, the brilliant 22 year-old from Co Down, had captured sporting headlines the world over by ecimating the US Open fi eld in June on his way to a remarkable six stroke victory at Congressional Country Club and his fellow Ulsterman, Darren Clarke, went on to capture the British Open at Royal St Georges at the ripe old age of 43. It was truly just as successful as its many illustrious predecessors. And


that, of course, is saying a great deal about a championship maintaining its envied reputation as one of the fi nest and most prestigious on the European circuit. Since its revival back in 1975, it has played a signifi cant role in demonstrating to golfers all over the globe that this country can match anything that other countries can produce and surpass the best of the vast majority. To their great credit, the Irish Tourist Board acknowledged just how


important the Irish Open was in keeping that message alive and once again were generous supporters of one of the country’s fi nest sporting occasions. George O’Grady, chief executive offi cer of the European Tour


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The Irish Open at Killarney has quickly become a spectacular social and family occasion. Charlie Mulqueen reports.


chief, confi rmed that the championship was still regarded as a key tournament on the schedule and was true to his promise that it would retain its late July date. Many leading Tour members including all of Ireland’s four major


champions committed themselves to the tournament. Indeed, the sense of expectation could not have been greater given that Rory McIlroy, the brilliant 22 year-old from Co Down, had captured sporting headlines the world over by decimating the US Open fi eld in June on his way to a remarkable eight stroke victory at Congressional Country Club and his fellow Ulsterman, Darren Clarke, went on to capture the British Open at Royal St Georges at the ripe old age of 43. The further success of the championship was guaranteed when Padraig


Harrington, holder of three “majors”, and 2010 US Open winner Graeme McDowell also signed up. And, of course, Ross Fisher from England was back to defend. All the time, David MacIndoe, the course superintendent, and golf


director Maurice O’Meara, were meticulously ticking all the boxes to ensure that Killarney would carry off the role of host club for the fourth time to the manner born. Slightly more favourable weather conditions in the late spring and early summer combined with a superb new tee at the 1st and a little tweaking here and there enabled MacIndoe and his team to make the course a slightly more diffi cult proposition than it had been twelve months previously. The pros loved what they saw and the challenge presented by the picturesque lakeside lay-out.


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