Woosnam ready for Irish Open party

By Brian Keogh

Triumphant Ryder Cup skipper Ian Woosnam is looking forward to another massive knees up in the €2.5 million Irish Open at Adare Manor.

The fiery Welshman can't wait to sample some more Irish hospitality following Europe's record-equalling victory over the Americans last September.

And he'll be joined at the sensational Limerick venue from May 17-20 by two time major winner Sandy Lyle, who was one of his assistants at the K Club.

Woosie beamed: "I am excited to be returning to Ireland for the first event since the Ryder Cup.

"I will never forget the experience of that wonderful week at the K Club and the fantastic reception we received from the Irish fans.

"For me, it was the greatest week of my career and the fact it was in Ireland made it all the more special.

"I have been visiting the country for as long as I can remember and have so many fond memories, including my back-to-back Irish Open wins at Portmarnock.

"I have always had a wonderful relationship with the Irish people, who are so friendly and welcoming, and I am very much looking forward to playing in the Irish Open at Adare Manor."

Former Masters winner Woosnam, 49, won back-to-back Irish Open titles at Portmarnock in 1988 and 1989.

And fellow major winner has confirmed that he will also be in Limerick in three weeks time.

European No 2 Paul Casey has yet to announce whether he can make it to Munster to renew his rivalry with Padraig Harrington.

Pipped by the Dubliner for the Order of Merit at Valderrama, the English ace finished second behind Thomas Bjorn in the Irish Open at Carton House last year.

But his management company IMG confirmed yesterday that he has yet to finalise his schedule and may yet chase the first leg of a possible €1 million double in Adare.

That's the juicy carrot being dangled in front of the players by Adare Manor owner Tom Kane for the player who can win the Irish Open and the following week's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

Kiwi Michael Campbell, who won the World Matchplay title at Wentworth in 2005 and the Irish Open in 2003, will definitely tee it up alongside the likes of Harrington, Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke and Colin Montgomerie.