Irish Open to return to County Louth in 2009

The three-day event will be played at the classic links of County Louth Golf Club, Baltray in May

Richard Finch - the current title holder of The Irish Open

The Irish Open, one of the most enduring and prestigious championships on The European Tour International Schedule (opens in new tab), will return to the classic links of County Louth Golf Club (opens in new tab), Baltray, from May 14-17 this year.   The official announcement of 3 as the major new title sponsor for The Irish Open is expected to be made before the end of the month after they announced in December they were being lined up to come in and rescue the event.

Designed in 1938 by Tom Simpson, the championship links at County Louth has consistently featured in golfing publications as one of Ireland's 'hidden gems' and earned rave reviews when The Irish Open was played over its links in 2004.   On that occasion, Australia’s Brett Rumford held off a strong challenge from Padraig Harrington who, as history has shown, went on to win his national title three years later on his way to capturing the first of  three Major Championships in the space of 13 months.

Two-time Open and reigning US PGA Champion Harrington declared: "I am delighted to hear that The Irish Open is returning to Baltray. It is certainly one of the most exciting links courses in the country and one I have enjoyed playing in the past.”   Kevin Byrne, Captain of County Louth Golf Club, commented: “We are indeed delighted to once again be favoured by The European Tour. With over 70,000 spectators visiting us in 2004 and the expectation of the same again, we are aware not only of the honour bestowed upon us but also the immensity of the undertaking, and, of course, the consequent tourism benefit to the local community.

Last year's event was won by Yorkshireman Richard Finch, who fell in the River Maigue during play at the Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort (opens in new tab).

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