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Left: Rory McIlroy during the second round Right: Simon Dyson is presented with the winners trophy by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and George O’Grady, Chief Executive of the European Tour


The crowds turned up in vast numbers, almost 100,000 over the four


days, creating a delightful atmosphere and maintaining the Irish Open as one of the biggest events in Europe. There was also a little controversy to add spice to the proceedings, most notably when American television commentator Jay Townsend criticised McIlroy and his caddie J.P. Fitzgerald for poor course management on the morning of the fi rst day. Neither Rory nor the big name Irish players were able to mount a


challenge over the four days. McIlroy and McDowell fi nished 25th and 34th respectively and Harrington and Clarke missed the cut. The ever consistent Dubliner Peter Lawrie was best of the home contingent in a share of 8th spot on nine under. Nevertheless, there was a thrilling conclusion with England’s Simon


Dyson prevailing on a total of 15 under par by one shot from Australian left hander Richard Green. Taoiseach Enda Kenny presented Dyson with the trophy and a cheque for 250, 000, expressing his belief that this was the beginning of another great era for the Irish Open while the exultant new champion mused a little sorrowfully that “it’s a shame how you can’t bottle how you feel some times.” Simon was a worthy winner. As for Fáilte Ireland and the European Tour, they feasted their eyes on


the magnifi cent television pictures that fl ashed all over the globe for the week and refl ected the tournament and the country in general in the most favourable light. Apart from the actual golf, the Irish Open at Killarney has quickly become a spectacular social and family occasion and it is fair to claim that no other tournament in Europe boasts such a


Clockwise from top left: Padraig Harrington chips in on the 16th hole; Darren Clarke drives off on the fi rst tee; Graeme McDowell plays out of the bunker on the third round.


friendly atmosphere and sheer, unadulterated sense of fun. There has been considerable speculation about bringing the event


north of the border for the fi rst time in the modern era. They certainly have the players in the likes of McIroy, Clarke and McDowell and courses of the calibre of Royal Portrush and Royal Co. Down, to name but two. Our countless lovers of true links would love that while also pointing to the virtues of the many other seaside venues available to host our fl agship golf tournament. Ballybunion, Tralee, Waterville, Portmarnock, Baltray, the European, Rosses Point, Enniscrone are just a few of those trip so easily off the tongue. We are indeed truly blessed in this regard while sometimes to our discredit sometimes overlooking the calibre of parkland lay-outs like Belvoir Park, Malone, Mount Juliet, Druids Glen, The K-Club, Adare Manor, Fota Island and the remarkable and unimaginably scenic Old Head. And then there’s Killarney, the prince of them all, and a club that


would never be greedy where hosting the Irish Open is concerned. But they have made it clear that they are willing to stage the championship again if and when they are requested to do so. And that’s just one other factor that bodes well for the future of this great event.


For more information about The Irish Open and other golf events visit: www.discoverireland.ie/golf (within Ireland), www. discoverireland.com/golf (outside Ireland).


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