Adare will make Ireland proud

By Brian Keogh

Uber-Irishman Paul McGinley took one look at Adare Manor and immediately fell in love.

The patriotic Dubliner regards the classic Limerick track as the best parkland course in the country.

And while he's making no promises about winning the Irish Open, he believes it will sell the country overseas like no other.

He said: "It's going to portray Ireland in a great light throughout the world. Particularly America.

"Americans are going to love the backdrop there with the manor behind the ninth green. When you have as beautiful a backdrop as that, how better can you express Ireland than with that picture.

"We have great links courses which we show very well but we also have great inland courses. We had a great week at the K Club last year at the Ryder Cup, we had Mount Juliet for the American Express and now we have Adare Manor."

Four years after his Irish PGA win at the Robert Trent Jones Snr design, the three-time Ryder Cup hero is rubbing his hands at the thought of how it will all come across on TV.

But he believes it will be even better if an Irishman is up there challenging for the title on Sunday afternoon.

McGinley said: "With an Irishman up there it is going to be even better. I'm playing okay but I haven't put it all together this year.

"What's missing is some consistency because I am in the top 20 in stroke average this year on tour yet I am languishing down the Order of Merit. All I'm missing is some consistency."

A massive €600,000 has been spent on upgrading the 1995 course for the Irish Open with 300 yards added to the par 72 track, making it a daunting 7,453 yards from the very back tees.

All the bunkers have been relined and a first-class short game practice facility and practice range has been developed.

And while McGinley is partly responsible for some of the changes, he hopes that his game can do it justice when he tees it up with Austrian Markus Brier and defending champion Thomas Bjorn at 8 am today.

He said: "I was having a pint with Tom Kane after the Irish PGA and he asked my opinion on a few of the greens.

"I said that it could do with a couple of new tee boxes to make it a really challenging course.

"You saw in the JP McManus Pro Am when Tiger was over that Padraig shot a 63 - shot the lights out.

"It did need a bit of lengthening but unfortunately he put in the length but he doesn't have the conditions this week.

"The eighth needed lengthening but I didn't walk out there with Tom and tell him where to put the tee or what to do. Adding 64 yards is too far."