Some of Ireland’s greatest sporting legends are eagerly anticipating the 3 Irish Open which is running from 14th to 17th May in Baltray, Co. Louth.

The 2009 3 Irish Open has the strongest field in recent memory with multiple major winners Padraig Harrington, John Daly and José Maria Olazábal all vying to take home the €3 million prize fund.

The 3 Irish Open and the sport of golf has, over the past number of weeks, captured the nation’s interest and none more so that many of Ireland’s high profile sporting icons.

Golf enthusiast and former Ireland striker, John Aldridge, is keen to see how the Tour Pros handle the gruelling Baltray course “Being an avid golfer myself I’m well aware the difficulties posed by a links courses and Baltray is no different. It’s a tough, demanding course on the players so I believe that the spectators are in for a real treat!”

Former Irish international and current RTÉ TV pundit, Eamon Dunphy, ‘ For many years the Open has provided wonderful memories and this year there seems to be a real buzz with the 3 Irish Open. Irish golfers are catching the attention of the worlds press through the exploits of Padraig Harrington and the exciting talent that is Rory McIIroy. It will be very interesting to see who comes out on top in Baltray. I’m certainly heading up to catch the action’

Scorer of one of Ireland’s most important ever goals, Ray Houghton, believes that the 3 Irish Open can be fantastic stepping stone for the victorious golfer: “Golf is very much a mental game so ones to watch will be those who have been performing well in the previous tournaments. The prize fund for the 3 Irish Open this year is sizeable so the competition in the Race to Dubai to win this will be intense”

Ronnie Whelan, who was integral part of the dominant Liverpool side of the 1980s, believes Ireland has a great reputation for golf but that a surprise winner could be in store: ‘Ireland has a fantastic pedigree in the sport of golf. Internationally our players are creating the excitement in golf. But I think this Open could be very special, for one reason. The legendary John Daly is playing and I think with the crowds behind him he could be the one to watch’