The Board of Fà¡ilte Ireland has been working with The European Tour on a new strategy for promoting Ireland’s golf tourism product in the international market place. This follows 14 years of close cooperation which has yielded great returns for Irish tourism through the support of the Tour’s regular annual tournaments and some special events like the World Golf Championships in 2002 and 2004. The partnership reached a high in September 2006 when Ireland hosted what most commentators regarded as the best ever staged Ryder Cup match between Europe and the United States.
Since the start of this year The European Tour and Fà¡ilte Ireland have been considering how to best advance their mutual interest and both parties have agreed a new approach. A considerable amount of work remains to be done on the detail of the new agreement, but it has been decided that Ireland’s interests would be better served by investing in re-establishing the Irish Open as one of Europe’s pre-eminent golf Championships.
Fà¡ilte Ireland has been a key sponsor of the Irish Open since 1995, but, said Gillian Bowler, chairman of Fà¡ilte Ireland, “It is our ambition to return the Irish Open to its position as one of the top golf events in Europe with the level of funding that will secure a better date in the schedule and attract a strong field of star players playing at the best venues in Ireland.”
George O’Grady, chief executive of The European Tour, said, “Much progress has been made in establishing this new strategy and securing the best possible dates for the Irish Open to meet the objectives of the Irish Government and its agencies.”
Mr O’Grady went on to say that, separately, a number of options for the future of the European Open are being considered.
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