Carton heads list of suitors but still no sponsor for Irish Open

Is Killeen Castle about to stage a late bid to host the 2012 Irish Open? Picture by Jenny Matthews www.golffile.ieEuropean Tour chiefs are remaining tight-lipped on the venue for 2012 Irish Open.

Carton House and Killeen Castle head of a list of courses anxiously waiting for the green light to host the tournament after the European Tour announced its 2012 schedule yesterday.

The tour confirmed that the event will go ahead from June 28 to July 1 at a venue “to be announced” and while the Montgomerie Course at Carton House is considered the clear favourite to stage the event for a third time, Wentworth sources admitted last night that it is not a done deal and that there has been interest from several venues.

Officials from the European Tour were seen deep in conversation with people connected with Killeen Castle during the Bank of Ireland Excellence in Sport Awards at Dublin’s Burlington Hotel. It was clearly not Christmas small-talk that kept them occupied in a quiet corner of the hotel.

However, while there appears to several venues interested in hosting the event with the tour keen to maximise its income from any hosting deal, the battle to find a title sponsor continues.

“In an ideal world we’d like to make an announcement on the venue tomorrow,” a tour spokesman said. “But that’s in an ideal world.”

Killeen Castle’s association with properties in the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) and its lack of an on-site hotel is considered the biggest stumbling block to its hopes. However, it is understood that it is the property element of the estate and not the golf club that is in NAMA.

2012 European Tour schedule