Irish Open chasing sponsor as Fota Island awaits

Irish Open chasing sponsor as Fota Island awaits
 Rory McIlroy recovers from the rough in the 3 Irish Open at Co Louth in 2009. Picture Jenny Matthews/  www.golffile.ie

Rory McIlroy recovers from the rough in the 3 Irish Open at Co Louth in 2009. Picture Jenny Matthews/ www.golffile.ie

The Irish Open could have a title sponsor again next season after three years in survival mode. Sources close to the European Tour confirmed that they are in negotiations with a backer that could boost the prize fund beyond €2m.

According to the same source, a deal to take the event back to Fota Island in Cork is “90 percent” done.

But parallel talks with a potential sponsor are delaying an official announcement on an event which is scheduled for June 19-22.

Fota Island hosted the Irish Open in 2001 and 2002 with brewer Murphy’s as title sponsors.

The brand is owned by Cork-based Heineken Ireland, which signed a multi-year deal to come on board as an official Irish Open sponsor for the 2012 event at Royal Portrush.

The Irish Open has survived on backing from Failte Ireland, the European Tour, gates receipts and a raft of associate sponsors for the last three years though the 2012 staging at Royal Portrush generated a profit thanks to record crowds.

Mobile phone company “3” came in for just two years before pulling the plug just a month after the 2010 Irish Open in Killarney and invested €7.5m in a four-year deal with the FAI.