The European Tour is believed to be in talks with Fota Island about the possibilty of hosting the 2014 Irish Open.
The venue was left as TBC when the European Tour released its 2014 schedule yesterday and we understand that discussions have taken place with the Cork venue, which hosted the event in 2001 and 2002.
Fota Island was acquired from NAMA by Chinese owners for €20m this summer and their potential interest has left Carton House in a watching brief.
The Co Kildare venue was widely expected to be given the chance to host the event for the second successive year with a move from the Montgomerie Course to the more scenic O’Meara layout.
No-one from Carton House has been willing to speak either publicly or privately about the situation for the past week.
Fota Island was a successful Irish Open venue in 2001 and 2002 and while Rory McIlroy has yet to play there, his former stablemate Graeme McDowell knows tha course well.
The Ulsterman made his European Tour debut at Fota Island in 2002, finishing tied for 27th behind Soren Hansen, who succeeded Colin Montgomerie as champion after a four-way playoff.
McIlroy has committed to playing the Irish Open next year when it takes place the week after the US Open at Pinehurst No 2 from June 19-22.
There has been talk of plans to organise a charter flight will take the players from North Carolina to Ireland.
McIlroy will certainly be hoping that he is in top form by then having endured what he confessed has been a very difficult 2013 season.
After closing with a 67 to finish fifth in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai behind Henrik Stenson, McIlroy said: “Honestly, I think I’ve learned a lot of things this year.
“It’s been a learning year. It’s been a very transitional year, a lot of stuff going on, new equipment, a few things off course that haven’t really helped either. But for the most part, I’m just really happy that my game is back where I want it to be and that’s all I really care about.”
McIlroy’s slim hopes of challenging for the title expired when he started with two bogeys and he explained that once he cuts out “those sloppy shots” his “expectations will be very high.”
He still has two events to play this year, the Australian Open and Tiger Woods’ end of year Challenge in California, but sounded almost relieved the European Tour campaign is at an end.
“I’m happy. It’s another good week. It’s another Top-10. It’s a step in the right direction. You know, still got a couple tournaments left this year to try and get that win, but I feel like I’m edging closer and closer.
“As a whole, obviously [the season] has been disappointing. It has not been the season that I’ve wanted. But at least I’ve ended it on a positive note and started to play better towards the end of the season.
“I’m very happy with that and at least that gives me some momentum going into next year. But yeah, I’m happy that The European Tour season of 2013 is officially over.
McIlroy ended up 35th in the Race to Dubai, one place ahead of Shane Lowry, who closed with a 71 to finish joint 39th on one under par before brings his season to end alongside McDowell in this week’s World Cup of Golf in Melbourne.
As for McDowell, the Portrush man had to settle for fourth in the Race to Dubai as he came home joint 17th in Dubai after a final round 71.
It was a disappointing season for the Northern Ireland star in the majors but he will be reflecting on some huge positives and three wins - his maiden PGA Tour victory in the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head and the Volvo World Match Play and the Alstom Open de France in Europe.
Darren Clarke, meanwhile, finished last of those who made the cut in the PGA Tour’s OHL Classic at Mayakoba.
The former Open champion didn’t make a birdie in a seven over, final round 78 to end up 77th on six over.
Harris English won the title by four strokes from Brian Stuard on 21 under par after rounds of 68, 62, 68 and 65.