The Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) has reached an agreement with The European Tour to conclude its sponsorship of the European Open with immediate effect.
Garry McGann, CEO of SKG, said, “We have had a very successful relationship with The European Tour over the last 13 years, during which time the European Open became one of the leading events on the Tour’s circuit.”
“Last year The K Club also hosted what most commentators regard as the most successful ever staging of The Ryder Cup. I want to commend everyone involved in making the European Open the great success it has been since it first came to Ireland in 1995. In particular, it is important to acknowledge Dr. Michael Smurfit’s unique contribution to the development of golf in Ireland.
“SKG’s decision is based on the increasingly international scale of our business and the inability of a brand such as ours to obtain full value from the sponsorship.
“A particular word of thanks is due to the Irish Government, Fà¡ilte Ireland, and our other co-sponsors for their commitment to the European Open over the 13 years it has been staged in Ireland.
“Finally I want to thank George O’Grady, Richard Hills, Peter Davidson, Jamie Birkmyre, and all the team at The European Tour for the way in which they have managed the relationship with SKG since we first sponsored the event in 1995.”
George O’Grady, chief executive of The European Tour said,” We are indebted to the Smurfit Kappa Group – with whom we have reached an amicable agreement for the future – for their sponsorship and leadership of the European Open for the past 13 years, qualities which have elevated the stature of the tournament within The European Tour International Schedule since 1995.
“The success of the Championship is a tribute to the vision of the Dr Michael Smurfit who has done so much for the European Open Golf Championship, for golf in Ireland, and for The Ryder Cup. The European Open is a key fixture on the European Tour, offering a much coveted opportunity for business, and negotiations about its future are already advanced.”
The European Open, first played in 1978 at Walton Heath, has, since 1995 been sponsored by the Smurfit Kappa Group and played at The K Club, the venue of The 2006 Ryder Cup, in Ireland. The tournament has also been hosted by East Sussex National, Royal Liverpool, Sunningdale and Turnberry.
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