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Killarney golf event to benefit from success of Irish stars

What a remarkable few months for Irish golf. In June Rory McIlroy won the US Open at the Congressional Country Club in Maryland and Darren Clarke has just lifted the famous Claret Jug at Royal St George’s at Sandwich in Kent. Two Irish players are currently the hottest property in the golfing world and their unprecedented success is sure to make some kind of golf mania take a grip on the whole county.

The timing of the Irish Open, which is to take place at the Killarney Golf & Fishing Club from July 29th to 01st August, could not be better. The tournament is now the only European Tour event to be played in Ireland and, although it has struggled recently, the attendance of McIlroy and maybe Clarke in Killarney this year is sure to prove to be a huge crowd puller. In fact, the English Independent newspaper has reported that the European Tour is now planning extra security to cope with the expected surge of golf fans into Killarney at the end of the month. The success of Clarke and McIlroy may also help to find a new main sponsor for the event, after 3 withdrew as title sponsor in November last year. This year’s event was kept alive by Fáilte Ireland and at the launch of the event in Dublin earlier this month European Tour chief executive George O’Grady was confident that the the combined efforts of the European Tour, Fáilte Ireland, Killarney Golf & Fishing Club and the hotels and businesses of Killarney town could deliver a successful event. O’Grady went on to say: “Last year the welcome was strong and now, if we bring that warmth to the commercial investors we’ve got coming in, I wouldn’t have any worries from our side. No-one’s being complacent but the facilities we’ve got to market in Killarney are exceptional.” A prize fund of €1.5m will include a €1.25m contribution from Fáilte Ireland, whose chairman Redmond O’Donoghue said they would continue to back the Irish Open even if a new title sponsor was not found.