New venue and date for Irish Open


New venue and date for Irish Open
Sean Dudley

Next year’s Irish Open will move to a new date, two weeks after the Open Championship, and to a new venue.

Killarney’s Killeen course, which previously played host in 1991-92, will hold the event, from 29 July to 1 August. The prize fund will be more than €3 million.

Robert Finnegan, chief executive of title sponsor 3, said: “Last year we were very proud to come to the rescue of the Irish Open. Baltray provided a wonderful spectacle in spite of bad weather and produced a fantastic finale with Shane Lowry winning after the third play-off hole. As part of the National Broadband Scheme, we’re bringing much needed internet connectivity to rural Ireland and we’re delighted to announce today that we are bringing a real tourism boost to Co Kerry with the 3 Irish Open 2010. Killarney’s Killeen is a magnificent course in an idyllic setting and we expect many of the world’s top golfers to take part in what will be a magical weekend in one of the world’s great beauty spots.”

The Killeen course is one of three at the Killarney club, created by landowner Viscount Castlerosse before World War II. Killeen was originally designed in 1972 by Eddie Hackett and Billy O’Sullivan, and re-opened in June 2006 after a full renovation by Mackenzie and Ebert.

European Tour boss George O’Grady said: “We are delighted to see the Irish Open returning to Killarney. The Killeen course at the Killarney Golf and Fishing Club is a truly world class lay-out and befitting of such a prestigious tournament. There were many outstanding candidates to host next year’s Irish Open, but the commercial benefits attached to the new date and venue made Killarney an irresistible choice.”

Three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington has played the Killeen course previously. He said: “I believe the golf course is superb but I am 100 per cent sure that the venue would be very popular on the Tour with the players. That is very important – the Irish Open has to give a little bit more than other events: it has to give the whole package with people enjoying the whole week around the golf.”