Sponsorship confirmed for The 3 Irish Open

3, Ireland’s fastest growing mobile network, has secured the future of one of golf’s most enduring national titles – The 3 Irish Open – for the next three years, through an agreement with the European Tour and a prize fund of €3 million.

The 3 Irish Open, which was won last year by England’s Richard Finch following the success of three-time Major Champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland the previous year, will be played at County Louth Golf Club, Baltray, Drogheda, from May 14-17, 2009.

Carrying an increased prize fund of €3,000,000 – €500,000 more than the 2008 tournament – The 3 Irish Open helps to secure the long-term future of one of the most revered national Opens on the European Tour.

Robert Finnegan, Chief Executive of the new title sponsors 3, said: “3 is delighted to be supporting such a prestigious event – the Irish open is a real sleeping giant and we’re looking forward to bringing it back to its rightful place as one of the strongest tournaments in Europe. As the newest and fastest growing network 3 stands for innovation and value in the market place – we plan to bring new and innovative ideas to the event whilst respecting the tradition of the tournament. We have some of the world’s top golfers here in Ireland so come along to Baltray and enjoy the spectacle.”

Martin Cullen TD, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, said: “3 is showing strong commitment to Ireland and to Irish sport through this sponsorship. The Irish Open, restored to its former glory, will act to promote Ireland internationally as a leading destination for the golfing tourism market.” Minister Cullen added “The Government, through Failte Ireland recognises the importance of golfing visitors to our tourism industry and its significant investment in this year’s Irish Open will also be crucial to its success.”

George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, commented: “We are delighted to enter into this three year agreement with 3, which will see a championship with such a distinguished heritage as The Irish Open join forces with an innovative brand as title sponsor. We are grateful to the Irish Government, and in particular Minister Cullen, for their continued commitment to The Irish Open, which this year incorporates The Race to Dubai. Everyone on the Tour is excited at the prospect of returning to a classic links in County Louth, where I am sure we will receive a typically hospitable Irish welcome.”

Inaugurated in 1927, the Irish Open has consistently produced world class champions on the calibre of Fred Daly, Harry Bradshaw, Christy O’Connor Jnr, Ben Crenshaw, Hubert Green, Sam Torrance, John O’Leary, Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam, José Maria Olazábal, Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, Sergio Garcia, Michael Campbell and Padraig Harrington.