Ryder Cup stars snub Irish Open

By Brian Keogh

Eight of Europe's Ryder Cup heroes have snubbed the €2.5 million Irish Open at Adare Manor.

Of the team that was roared to victory at the K Club just nine months ago, only Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley and Lee Westwood have bothered to enter the event from May 17-20.

Colin Montgomerie, Paul Casey, Luke Donald, David Howell, Sergio Garcia, Robert Karlsson, Jose Maria Olazabal and Henrik Stenson have failed to find a place for the Irish Open in their schedules.

All 12 Ryder Cup players will be at Sawgrass for next week's Players Championship and all bar Garcia will make the trip to Wentworth for the BMW PGA Championship the week after Adare.

Ryder Cup skipper Ian Woosnam is also doubtful with a back injury, though he was on the final entry list yesterday.

At least 16 Irishmen will tee it up with Dubliner Noel Fox handed a sponsor's invitation and Limerick Golf Club's Pat Murray included as an amateur entrant.

Players Committee chairman Jamie Spence, two-time major winner Sandy Lyle, Englishman Matthew Richardson and reigning British Amateur champion Julien Guerrier have also earned invitations.

At least three more invitations have yet to be decided with Athlone's Colm Moriarty, Challenge Tour winner Michael Hoey and Waterville's David Higgins keeping their fingers crossed.

Dubliner Philip Walton - overlooked for an invitation last year - will make his 24th Irish Open appearance as one of eight players exempt through last year's PGA Irish Region money list.