Fota in pole position for Irish Open

Fota in pole position for Irish Open
Fota Island.

Fota Island.

Carton House appears have given up on hosting next year’s Irish Open and left the way clear for the European Tour to take the event to Fota Island.

Sources close to the committee at the Kildare venue insist that they “have given up the ghost” and assumed the event is heading for Munster.

The new Chinese owners of Fota Island are believed to have offered the European Tour better terms to host the event from June 19-22.

Neither Carton House nor Fota Island, which last hosted the tournament in 2001 and 2002, were available for comment.

However, Fota Island’s Director of Marketing, Seamus Leahy, confirmed recently that they have been speaking to the European Tour.

He said: “We are chatting about it, seeing what they want from us and seeing what we can give them.

“Whether that is us putting cash in or helping find sponsor — there is good corporate interest down here —  or whether various players’ needs would be served, all those things would be discussed.”

With Ireland’s Big Four of Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke all missing the cut this year, the Irish Open struggled to attract big crowds and break even.

There is still no news of a title sponsor but the Tour may be able to generate more interest from local sponsors in Cork than Dublin.

Asked about a possible site fee, Mr Leahy said: “I suspect that the money involved would be a lot less than 10 years ago.

“I’ve heard numbers that no Irish venue would be willing to spend now.

“Yes, the new owners do have cash but they are not silly. You pay the going rate, not former rates.”