The 2014 Irish Open will return to Cork for the first time in 12 years after confirmation that the magnificent Fota Island Resort, which was recently purchased by Chinese investors The Kang Group Worldwide, will become an Official Sponsor as well as host venue of the Championship.
The Irish Open was last played in Cork in 2002 when Denmark’s Søren Hansen took the title at Fota Island.
The Resort also hosted the Championship in 2001, when Colin Montgomerie won the last of his three Irish Opens.
The presence of The European Tour’s new generation of stars, led by Rory McIlroy, will deliver a significant boost to the region, and the world number seven and double Major Champion is looking forward to the challenge of Fota Island’s Deerpark Course from June 19-22.
“I think it is great news that the Irish Open will be played at Fota Island,” said McIlroy who ended his 2013 season with victory in the Emirates Australian Open last month.
“The country’s National Open should be moved around to give everyone an opportunity to see the event, and it also gives us the chance to show the world just how many amazing courses there are in Ireland. “Fota Island will be an exciting venue for the Irish Open, and exactly the kind of place to showcase what Ireland has to offer as a golf destination.”
McIlroy’s views were heartily endorsed by other leading European Tour players, including Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, who said: “I’m delighted that Fota Island is going to host the 2014 Irish Open.
“The players will love the golf course and everyone involved with the tournament will also enjoy the craic on offer in nearby Cork, Ireland’s second largest city.”
Jonathan Woods, Chief Executive Officer at Fota Island Resort, said: “Since the last two occasions Fota Island Resort hosted the Irish Open, back to back in 2001 and 2002, so many significant investments and developments have taken place at the Resort itself and with our golf courses and facilities.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to reintroduce the players, the public and the world’s media to Fota Island Resort, and to what is now a world-class, international golf venue.
“The Irish Open will be an enormously important event for tourism in Cork and the surrounding area, which is not just an added bonus for Fota Island Resort but for the whole region too.”
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “Having hosted two Irish Opens at the Fota Island Resort, we know the Irish Open will have a fitting home at this superb venue.
“The new owners of the Fota Island Resort – The Kang Family - have impressive ambitions. By securing the 2014 Irish Open they will now be able to showcase their resort and the beautiful surroundings of County Cork to the world.”
Advance tickets for the 2014 Irish Open are on sale now at a special promotional price of €25 for Adult Day Tickets and €50 for Adult Season Tickets (concessions €15 and €30).A limited number of tickets at those promotional prices – saving up to €10 for a day pass and €20 for a season – on the gate prices are currently available on a first come first served basis. Golf fans are encouraged to apply now for tickets on www.europeantour.com/tickets or www.irishopen.ie