The Irish Open, one of the highlights of the European Tour, will return to the classic links of County Louth Golf Club, Baltray, from May 14-17 this year.
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 sumptuous links for the only time 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. I look forward to the tournament being a great success.”
Kevin Byrne, Captain of County Louth Golf Club, commented: “We are 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.
Irish Ryder Cup player Paul McGinley, added: “I was a member at County Louth as a junior and I am absolutely delighted that The Irish Open is going there.
"The event has probably gone from the best inland course in Ireland - Adare Manor - to the best links course in Ireland, in my opinion, at Baltray.
“Baltray hits the nail on the head for the spectators from the north and south. We have that new road from Dublin to Belfast which encourage great crowds, so it ticks all the boxes as a venue.”