Next year's Irish Open at Adare Manor promises to be a real monster - in more ways than one.
Adare Manor boss Tom Kane has stretched the course by more than 300 yards to a massive 7,400 yards plus, making it an even tougher test for the best pros in Europe from May 17-20.
Kane is also working hard to boost the prize fund close to €4 million and put the event back in the elite bracket alongside the BMW Championship and the Deutsche Bank TPC of Europe.
Getting that kind of money depends not only on a soon-to-be- announced consortium of sponsors, but also on attracting massive crowds to the stunning Robert Trent Jones Snr track outside Limerick.
For the first time since it was revived in 1975, the Irish Open will not have a title sponsor. But that could prove to be the salvation of the event, making it The People's Open and filling the void left by the Ryder Cup.
Kane said: "This is the national event. And this is a message we are trying to get across to as many people who have pride in the national event.
"The Ryder Cup is behind us and by dropping the named sponsor we are trying to ecumenise the event and get as many people involved as possible.
"I think it should be the People's Tournament. If we get support from the clubs in the Munster region and around the country and also get an attendance in here, that will help drive the prize fund."
The Irish Open has suffered from poor crowds and average prize funds in recent years, despite a rise in the total purse from €1.4 million at Druids Glen in 1999 to €2.2 million at Carton House this year.
These days, a €2.2 million prize fund leaves the Irish Open ranked 19th in the list of the richest events on European Tour behind the four Majors, the four World Golf Championship events and tournaments such as the €4 million French Open or the €2.6 million Quinn Direct British Masters.
Getting the prize fund into the €3 million plus bracket has been Kane's top priority since he signed a three-year deal with the European Tour to take over from Nissan last May.
Kane said: "There is no mystery. To get back into a relative position with the top tournaments in Europe we have got to get the prize fund up approaching €4 million.
"That is what the BMW PGA is at Wentworth and what the Deutsche bank is. Whether we are successful in doing that the first year or whether it takes a few more years, remains to be seen. It is a function of attendance and sponsorship.
"There are far more organisations than just a named sponsor who are willing to back the event. I don't want to reveal any names yet but we will say what we have to say at the end of November."
New Jersey born Kane has pumped millions into the five-star venue since he and his wife Judy bought it in 1987 and hosted the AIB Irish Seniors Open from 2002 to 2004.
It’s finest hour came last July when 52,000 fans showed up over two days to see Tiger Woods and many of the world’s best in the JP McManus Invitational Pro-Am.
And Kane hopes to exceed that number of fans over four days next May with many of the top players moving from the Players Championship at Sawgrass to Adare before heading to Wentworth for the BMW Championship the following week.
He added: "We are assembling a team of co-sponsors now and we're well into the process. I'm finding people receptive, certainly in this region. We are working with the tour and some of their contacts. I am very optimistic and it is improving every day.
"I have to say I am excited. It is a milestone for us with the changes to the golf course. The course was designed 15 years ago and the bunkers are between 250 and 280 yards from the tee so you have to put them into the landing zone which is 300 to 310."
The course has received rave reviews in recent years but Kane has taken on board the advice of players such as Paul McGinley and lengthened eight holes - the 2nd, 3rd, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 14th and 17th.
New bunkers have been added on the right hand side of the landing areas at the seventh and eighth. But the most dramatic change comes at the par three 11th which is now more than 50 yards longer and will play a terrifying 235 yards over the River Maigue.
The par five ninth is nearly 60 yards longer and now a monster 636 yards while new tees have been built in the trees on the back nine, creating a chute-like effect on the 14th and 17th.
The 10th tee is now hard by the riverbank, the practice ground has also been rebuilt and the bunkers lined and refilled to leave the course in perfect condition some eight months ahead of schedule.
The par five 18th is unchanged but Kane plans to build a temporary pedestrian bridge across the river behind the 15th green with the main corporate pavilion situated between the 16th green and the 18th fairway.
Kane added: "With JP's event we had 52,000 people in two days. When the Irish Open has been down here in the south west at Fota Island and Killarney it has done well and over the four days we should be able to exceed that number.”
All they need now is good weather - something Irish events have been sorely lacking for some time now.