Rory McIlroy has significantly increased his commitment to the Irish Open with the announcement that his charity, the Rory Foundation, will become the official tournament host from next year.
The 2015 Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation will be held from May 28-31 in McIlroy’s native Northern Ireland at Royal County Down, a venue which is particularly close to the world No.1’s heart, as it was the venue of his final appearance as an amateur in the 2007 Walker Cup.
The Rory Foundation, which was set up at the start of last year to raise funds for children’s charities across the world, will also become the tournament’s official charity, with the beneficiaries to be chosen by the Foundation along with the European Tour.
"I am excited to be partnering with George O’Grady and the European Tour." - Rory McIlroy
At the announcement, which was made on Sky Sports last night, Rory McIlroy said he was delighted to throw his weight behind this ‘special’ event.
“Since making my debut in 2005, the Irish Open has always been a special tournament to me,” said the 25-year-old.
“I am excited to be partnering with George O’Grady and the European Tour, especially for next year’s tournament at Royal County Down.”
One of the major beneficiaries of The Rory Foundation, the Cancer Fund for Children, is located just a few miles from Royal County Down, in Newcastle.
McIlroy is hopefully the exposure the charity will receive will see more players involve themselves with the organisation.
“It’s a coincidence,” said the four-time major champion, "but a nice one, allowing the Cancer Fund for Children to be introduced to other golfers who would be moved and engaged by what it does.”
European Tour thankful of Rory McIlroy backing
With the news that McIlroy will get behind the Irish Open, George O’Grady, chief executive of the European Tour, is delighted at Rory’s gesture of commitment.
“Since I first met Rory when he was playing for Europe in the 2004 Junior Ryder Cup team in Detroit, I could sense he was not just a remarkably talented golfer, but also a remarkable young man,” said O’Grady.
"The European Tour is thrilled that Rory and his Foundation would wish to partner with the tour." - George O'Grady
“It has been a true pleasure watching Rory’s transition from one of the world’s leading amateur golfers in 2007 to the No.1 golfer in the world.
“The European Tour is thrilled that Rory and his Foundation would wish to partner with the tour and become more closely involved in the development of the Irish Open.
"Today’s announcement further demonstrates Rory’s uniquely special qualities and his commitment not simply to his national Open, but also to the European Tour.”