On Sunday Rory McIlroy announced his plans to significantly increase his commitment to the European Tour’s Irish Open. His role will also expand, with his charitable foundation, The Rory Foundation, becoming the official tournament host starting next year.
The 2015 Irish Open Hosted by The Rory Foundation will be held from May 28-31 in McIlroy’s native Northern Ireland at Royal County Down, a venue that the world no. 1 is quite familiar with as it is where he played his final event as an amateur in the 2007 Walker Cup.
The Rory Foundation, which was set up at the start of last year to raise money for children’s charities around the world, will also take over as the tournament’s official charity, with the beneficiaries to be selected by the Foundation in partnership with the European Tour.
As the tournament host, McIlroy is committed to strengthening the already world-class field by recruiting his pals from both the European and PGA Tours to play. In other words, it kind of becomes a popularity contest. How much do his fellow players like him that they’ll add that particular event to fit their busy schedules. With Rory’s congeniality, I’m sure plenty of his colleagues will go the extra mile for him.
“Since making my debut in 2005, the Irish Open has always been a special tournament to me,” said McIlroy during the announcement, which was made on Sky Sports on Sunday evening. “I am excited to be partnering with George O’Grady and The European Tour, especially for next year’s tournament at Royal County Down.”
One of the principal charitable recipients of The Rory Foundation is the Cancer Fund for Children, which is located just a few miles from Royal County Down in Newcastle.
McIlroy added: “It’s a coincidence, but a nice one, allowing the Cancer Fund for Children to be introduced to other golfers who would be moved and engaged by what it does.”
European Tour Chief Executive George O’Grady welcomed the announcement and the four-time major champion’s added participation with open arms.
“Since I first met Rory when he was playing for Europe in the 2004 Junior Ryder Cup team in Detroit, I could sense he was not just a remarkably talented golfer, but also a remarkable young man.
“As the Chief Executive of The European Tour, it has been a true pleasure watching Rory’s transition from one of the world’s leading amateur golfers in 2007 to the Number One golfer in the world and a four-time Major Champion.
“The European Tour is thrilled that Rory and his Foundation would wish to partner with the Tour and become more closely involved in the development of the Irish Open. Today’s announcement further demonstrates Rory’s uniquely special qualities and his commitment not simply to his national Open, but also to The European Tour.”
Well, I’ve alway wanted to visit Northern Ireland…