Bank of Ireland today announced that its sponsorship agreement with Padraig Harrington will not be renewed when the contract ends in May.

The bank entered the sponsorship deal in May 2007 for a three-year term and certainly got value for money as Harrington won three majors in the space of 15 months.

But the credit crunch and the fact that Bank of Ireland is now 15.7 per cent directly owned by Irish taxpayers has left some valuable space on Harrington’s chest. 

Tom Hayes, Chief Executive of Bank of Ireland Corporate Banking, said: “Our decision to sponsor Padraig announced just before the Irish Open in May 2007 has reaped fantastic benefits for our brand. While we were confident that we were partnering with a great golfing talent, he surpassed all our expectations by becoming the first home winner of the Irish Open in 25 years, following which he then went on to win three historic major titles.

“Padraig has been a wonderful ambassador for the Bank both on and off the course and we have no doubt that he will go on to enjoy even greater success in the years ahead. We are exceptionally proud of our association with him and we wish him continued success in his future career.”

Harrington is reported to have earned at least €400,000 a year, plus bonuses, from the deal. In return, he wore the Band of Ireland logo on his shirt and did three corporate outings a year - one each in Ireland, the UK and the United States.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the Bank of Ireland team, its customers and the many staff who have supported me over the last three years,” said Harrington, who still has deals with Kartel, FTI, Wilson Staff, Titleist, Footjoy, Oceanico, Citizen Eco-Drive, GoS Networks, Marquis Jet, the Marlbrook and White Oak Plantation.

“I am very pleased that I was able to represent a prominent Irish brand on the global stage during a very successful period in my career. I would like to thank the Bank for its support over the period and wish them well for the future.”

Harrington would certainly have been aware of the negative connotation of carrying on the Bank of Ireland sponsorship in the current economic climate.

But his loss appears to have worked out well for the Links Golf Society charity, which he has supported for over 20 years.

Following the loss of long terms sponsors Renault Ireland at the end of last year, the Links secured a replacement in Bank of Ireland, who supported the 2009 Excellence in Sport Awards, which are organised by the Links.

Dublin-based clothing brand Kartel signed Harrington in 1997 and is now the only 100 percent Irish owned company sponsoring the three-time major champion.