Irish Open at The K Club to get May 19-22 date
The K Club

The K Club

The Irish Open appears to be heading for The K Club next May but it remains to be seen if Rory McIlroy will maintain his high profile backing for the event after a busy week at Royal County Down did little for his chances.

According to two sources close to the venue, the main points of the agreement between the European Tour and the resort's owner Dr Michael Smurfit are in place with the week between The Players and the BMW PGA, May 19-22, believed to be the agreed date.

That's a week earlier than this year but given the condensed world golf calendar and Rory McIlroy's ever-shrinking schedule, it could be a good week for all concerned. All that’s needed is now is the okay from sponsors Dubai Duty Free to extend their one-year deal to 2016.

That will depend on the results of a review by consultants of last month's championship at Royal County Down, but the indications are that the UAE giant are happy to carry on.

With the 2017 Irish Open earmarked for Lough Erne in County Fermanagh, it is believed that The K Club hoped to secure a return staging in 2018 as part of the North-South dynamic that now fuels the event.

The K Club

The K Club

However, the potential interest of Mount Juliet's owner Tetrarch Capital, which has just committed to hosting a Challenge Tour event at Mount Wolseley for the next three years, does not help The K Club.

As for McIlroy, the European Tour are hopeful that his Rory Foundation will host again and while that's likely, nothing has been decided definitively.

As Irish Open Championship Director Antonia Beggs said in Newcastle: “We have always said that this is the first time and when he dust has settled we will sit down and chat about the future strategy.

“We very much hope that Rory will be involved in the Irish Open in some shape or form next year because he is the world No 1 and he is from Ireland.

“We can’t say any more for now but this isn’t a one-off as such. It’s just the first time we’ve done it so while we can’t say we are doing it for 10 years (with Rory hosting), the feedback has been very positive.”