GOLF: Rory McIlroy urges golf clubs to embrace Irish Open

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy.

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Europe’s Race to Dubai Champion Rory McIlroy has issued a ‘call to action’ to golf clubs throughout Ireland, urging them to embrace this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation and help make it one of ‘the best ever’.

McIlroy, the best golfer this country has ever produced, is fiercely proud of where he comes from and has been a great ambassador for Irish golf ever since he hit the big time, promoting Ireland’s abundance of amazing golf courses all over the world.

Now he is determined to maintain the Irish Open’s position as one of the premier events in the world of golf and he is personally calling on golf clubs all over the country to help him do this.

In a letter to every golf club in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, McIlroy has not only requested that clubs come together to support this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, which takes place at The K Club in County Kildare from May 19-22, but he has also produced his own personal ‘five point plan’ to help clubs and their members to get involved.

One highlight of his plan is the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Club Challenge, a nationwide golf tournament which gives one lucky club team an opportunity to play alongside a top professional in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Pro–Am.

McIlroy is asking clubs all over Ireland to use existing club competitions to find a Men’s and Ladies’ champion who will then go on to represent their club in regional qualifiers with a national final to be held at The K Club.

The winning club will then receive a team invitation to play in the Pro-Am, courtesy of title sponsor Dubai Duty Free which has donated one of its much sought after team spots exclusively for this initiative.

Other features of his plan include a nationwide skills challenge for junior club members to develop their key golfing skills, special offers to encourage clubs to enjoy travelling to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open by coach or as a group, and personalised incentives from Rory in the form of signed memorabilia to proudly display in the clubhouse.

“The Irish Open has always been very close to my heart but I would love this year’s event to be even more special as it will once again be hosted by the Rory Foundation,” McIlroy said.

“I am extremely proud to come from these shores and we are truly blessed with loads of great, accessible courses which I have no doubt have played a big part in Ireland punching well above its weight with the exceptional golfing talent we have produced, north and south, over the years.

“I want the entire golfing world to know this and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is the perfect vehicle as it showcases the quality of our golf courses to more than quarter of a billion homes around the globe,” he added.

“With this in mind, I’m determined to make sure that the Irish Open, which has grown tremendously in recent years, maintains its current status as one of the best events in world golf.

“We can achieve this if we all pull together, which is why I’m asking clubs to embrace this year’s event, get involved and help make it one of the best ever.

“I’m really looking forward to working with our golf clubs to promote what I believe is one of the best tournaments on the professional circuit - in one of the best golfing destinations in the world.”

This year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is shaping up to be one of the best, with a record prize fund of 4 million euros, which is sure to attract some of golf’s most exciting players.

In addition, having officially hosted a sell-out Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down last year, 2016 is the first year that McIlroy will be hosting a tournament south of the border, through his charity the Rory Foundation.

A portion of all tickets sales this year will go towards the Foundation which was established by McIlroy in 2013 to help children live better lives by raising funds and offering support to children’s charities around the world.

This year will also be the first time that The K Club will host Ireland’s national Open, fittingly on the 10th anniversary of the course hosting Europe’s memorable victory over the USA in the 2006 Ryder Cup.