Harrington calls for title sponsor

Pádraig Harrington: "I do believe we’d be better to have a title sponsor." Picture: Thos Caffrey / www.golffile.ie

Pádraig Harrington called on tourism chiefs to stick with the Irish Open and urged the European Tour to find a title sponsor.

With Failte Ireland believed to be studying ways to cut back on its €1 million investment, Harrington reckons its more crucial than ever that a major backer is found for an event that attracted 104,810 fans - nearly 11,000 more than the €4.75m flagship BMW PGA at Wentworth.

Pleased to finish tied 14th despite struggling with a neck injury, Harrington said: “I do believe we’d be better to have a title sponsor. There’s no doubt about that. 

“It’s got to be the best value event in the world here — looks good on TV, crowds turn out and you’re getting coverage all around the world, on Golf Channel in the ‘States, Asia and South Africa, all around the world.

“This is value for money and with a number of sponsors, it’s not like one has to come in and take the whole burden.

“I see Failte Ireland doing this up until they find somebody else but ultimately you’d hope a sponsor would come in see this and say I want to have my name up there.”

Harrington’s putting let him down again early in the round, but he dug deep to fire a 69 to finish five behind Mikko Ilonen on eight under despite struggling with injury.

He revealed: “I tweaked my neck, shoulder and back. It was something that happened a lot four or five years ago. 

“Before I went out I had an anti-inflammatory, heat, laser, acupuncture,  A.R.T. (Active Release Technique) and some chiropractic adjustments to it. 

“I’d have played with one leg or one arm if I had to.”