The classic, rugged links of Ballybunion Golf Club in South West Ireland, will stage the 13th edition of the Irish Seniors Open in association with AIB and Fà¡ilte Ireland from 5-7 June 2009.
Ballybunion, perched atop a beautiful stretch of County Kerry coastline, regularly features in any list of the world’s top ten courses and represents a major coup for the European Senior Tour in their quest to play at some of golf’s finest venues.
The 6,598 yards, par 71 Old Course is widely regarded as links golf in its purest form and features one of the world’s most awesome and aesthetically pleasing hole, the 453 yard par four 11th, named ‘Watsons’ in recognition of Ballybunion’s Millennium Captain and Honorary Life Member, Tom Watson.
The announcement of Ballybunion as host venue for the Irish Seniors Open in association with AIB and Fà¡ilte Ireland – the 17th confirmed event on the 2009 schedule – is likely to hold a massive appeal to senior golfers of the calibre of Watson, the five-time Open Champion and universally recognised as one of the world’s greatest exponents of links golf.
Watson, a three-time winner of The Senior Open Championship, added his glowing testimonial after adding some personal tweaks to the classic lay-out, stating: “Having played the Old Course at Ballybunion many times since my first visit in 1981, I am now of the opinion it is one of the best and most beautiful tests of links golf anywhere in the world.”
Ballybunion is no stranger to European Tour competition, having hosted the 2000 Irish Open, won by Sweden’s Patrick Sjöland ahead of countryman Fredrik Jacobsen and Ireland’s Paul McGinley, who finished third.
With Ballybunion taking its place on the Senior Tour roster and the 2009 Irish Open being played at County Louth in Baltray, the Irish golfing public will be afforded two unmissable opportunities to watch two great tournaments played on two wonderful courses on opposite coastlines of Ireland.
Fà¡ilte Ireland and AIB have both been associated with all 12 previous Irish Seniors Opens and Martin Cullen, T.D., Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, said, “The growth of golf in Ireland over the past 20 years has been a unique partnership between Government, public and private enterprise.
“The Government has invested significantly in a variety of events, including golf, and hosting this event on a course such as Ballybunion offers an opportunity to highlight the top class links courses for which Ireland is renowned.
“Over 194,000 overseas visitors played golf in Ireland in 2007 with revenue amounting to €167 million, delivering valuable business and offering them an opportunity to experience not only the trophy courses, but also the many hidden gems Ireland has to offer.”
Simon Duffield, general manager of Ballybunion Golf Club, said, “We at Ballybunion Golf Club are delighted to host the Irish Seniors Open in June 2009, and we look forward to extending a warm welcome to the European Senior Tour professionals, officials and the many visitors who visit our charming and challenging golf links. In particular, we welcome those who played in the Irish Open in 2000 and, of course, those visiting us for the first time.”
Ballybunion Golf Club www.ballybuniongolfclub.ie