Irish golf will stage its very own version of The Gathering when Rory McIlroy heads an all-star cast at the Irish Open in County Kildare’s Carton House.
World class player Rory McIlroy will be returning "home" when he tees up on the Montgomerie Course at the spectacular estate in Maynooth, County Kildare from June 27-30. It’s a welcome return to one of the finest golf courses, not just in Ireland but the world. At full stretch – 7,300 yards – Colin Montgomerie’s links-like design is championship stuff.
It’s certainly not uncharted territory for the 24-year-old Holywood star. He made his Irish Open debut as a 16-year old amateur at Carton House in 2005 and, while he missed the cut that time, his presence will make the 2013 staging a world event.
Making history with the Irish Open
Many of the game’s greats have claimed an Irish Open or two during their illustrious careers, and McIlroy wants to join that special club as he heads a star-studded field. On the home front, he’ll be joining previous Irish Open winners Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry, plus 2014 Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, British Open winner Darren Clarke and US Open winner Graeme McDowell in an attempt to keep the cup on the island.
Home is where the golf is…
“It’s very special because it’s my home event," McIlroy said at the end of a spectacular 2012 season. “The history of the Irish Open is very special, too, with such a great list of champions from Nick Faldo to Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Sergio Garcia and Padraig Harrington. So many European greats have won that tournament and I think that’s what makes it so special.”
McIlroy was bowled over by the astonishing support that he, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke received in their native Northern Ireland at Royal Portrush in 2012, when European Tour attendance records were smashed.
“The fans are incredible. Obviously the support I get back home is unbelievable but the support the Irish fans give in general is great. They are very knowledgeable and I think Royal Portrush Golf Club, with its record attendances, was just incredible, seeing so many people come out to watch us play,” said McIlroy
McIlroy will be competing in his seventh Irish Open and his second over the Montgomerie course at Carton House. The global superstar of today was just 16 when the event was played at Carton House in 2005.
Carton House brings back memories
“I like Carton House and I’ve a little bit of history there," said McIlroy. "It was the first Irish Open I played, over the Monty course, and I have great memories of going down there as part of Irish amateur squads. It’s a place I enjoy going back to.”
The challenge of following in the footsteps of 2007 winner Harrington and Carton House’s touring professional, Shane Lowry, who won the title as an amateur in 2009, is a prime target for McIlroy in 2013.
“Winning the Irish Open would be very special," he said. “I know Padraig Harrington has talked a lot about how he felt when he won and how proud he was of that achievement.
"I’d love to win it, although it’s tough to play in front of your home crowds at times. It brings its own pressures and you want to do so well for them and they live and breathe every shot with you!
“When you make a bogey there’s a big ‘aahhhh’ and when you make a birdie there’s a big roar and it’s tough sometimes not to try too hard,” said McIlroy. But hopefully I am not going to win just one Irish Open but a few Irish Opens in my career."
Part of the action
If you’re not quite McIlroy or Harrington, you can still pit your wits against the fairways of Carton House – not to mention the other 400 or so brilliant links and parkland courses around the island – any other time of year. But by far the best golf lesson you’ll get, with guaranteed atmosphere by the caddy-load, is watching the pros at play.
Cue nerve-racking putts, heartbreaking water shots and sublime tee shots. And you can expect a long list of global golf stars to be there – after all, this island is the home of champions! And here’s your Open Invitation.
Two times the sporting prowess…
Enjoy two of the great sporting events of the year in 2013 – The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby & The Irish Open Golf Championship– with our dual admission ticket. Tourism Ireland has partnered with The Curragh Racecourse to offer visitors to The Irish Open the opportunity to attend the golf in the morning and then racing in the late afternoon with this fantastic ticket for only €50 EUR. Offer closes 21 June 2013.