Rory McIlroy and his management team speak to lots of people but how significant was their sit-down with JP McManus during May's Dubai Duty Free Irish Open?
Very significant if one considers that the Sundance Kid, as McManus is known to his friends, is believed to be investing €30 million in converting his Adare Manor acquisition into what the Limerick Leader describes as "The Augusta of Europe."
Not only does the multi-millionaire businessman, who bought Adare Manor in 2015, want to host the Ryder Cup in 2028, he's clearly targeting the Irish Open.
According to Alan Owens in the Limerick Leader:
The Limerick Leader understands that the Martinstown Stud owner, who bought the resort last year for a figure in the region of €30m, is planning to invest at least the same amount again in a major redevelopment of the hotel and golf course.
While very little has been said officially, it is believed that major development work will get under way at the beginning of 2016 – causing the golf course to close for a period of approximately seven months, and the hotel for even longer, subject to planning. The clubhouse on the renowned parkland course is to get a major revamp, with a number of holes to be completely redesigned also on the course, which hosted the Irish Open in 2007 and 2008.
A spokesperson declined to comment when asked about the plans for the resort this Wednesday.
The Limerick Leader has however learned that high ranking officials in the golf club were informed this week that the course would likely close for at least seven months next year, with members to get a break on fees while the work is being carried out.
Members are due to be informed by letter about the development plans in the coming days.
It is understood that the intention is to transform the course, with a view to returning the Irish Open to Adare, plus JP’s Pro Am and, looking ahead, making an attempt to secure the Ryder Cup in 2026.
The hotel, it is also understood, will close for a longer period, up to 18 months, with plans in place to build a new wing and conference centre. The figure being mentioned is that of €30m, in an effort to make the Adare facility “the best golf resort in Europe”, according to a source.
The venue for next year's Irish Open has yet to be decided and while The K Club is believed to be in pole position with only the small print to be decided, those "details" include the European Tour seeking a hefty, seven-figure staging fee.
The event returns to Northern Ireland in 2017 with Lough Erne already signed up, however, it remains to be seen if The K Club will succeed in getting a multi-year deal.
Fota Island in Cork and Mount Juliet are also potential future venues that could be ready to throw their hats into the ring again over the next few seasons.