The future stars of World Golf will be coming to Ireland in August for the World Amateur Team Championships being held in Ireland for the first time.
Over 1000 players and officials will gather at Carton House for one of the most prestigious amateur tournaments in the sport, one graced in the past by no less than Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy, Mary McKenna, Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire.
The Golfing Union of Ireland and the Irish Ladies Golf Union began the bidding process to host back in 2012 and found a willing ally in Conor Mallaghan who owned Carton House at the time and who was present alongside the new owners yesterday when details of the tournament were announced.
The Women’s Championship for the Espirito Santo Trophy will take place between August 29th and September 1st, and the Men’s Championship for the Eisenhower Trophy between September 5th and 8th.
Most of the competitors from the 72 participating nations will be accommodated in a ‘Championship Village’ at Maynooth University, adding to the unique camaraderie of this event.
Approximately 10,000 spectators are expected to pass through the gates at Carton during the two weeks of competition, with free admission offered to encourage as many club and junior members to attend.
“We are delighted to welcome and host such a superior event at Carton House,” said Sinead Heraty, Chief Executive of the ILGU.
“Ireland is renowned as a golfing location and has produced numerous world class golfers during both the historic and modern era. The Espirito Santo and Eisenhower Trophies promise to provide two weeks of exciting viewing and an opportunity to see some of the professional stars of the future.”
“This is the first time that Ireland has hosted an amateur golf tournament on this scale,” added Pat Finn, Chief Executive of the GUI.
“In every aspect, the World Amateur Team Championships is a spectacular event. It is a rare opportunity to see so many of the world’s best golfers in action. This momentous occasion will act as a boon to the local economy in north Kildare with restaurants, pubs and hotels in demand throughout August and early September.”
“This is the largest amateur golf event to be hosted in Ireland in 125 years and it will also create a great boost for the local economy,” added Sandra Barnett, Tournament manager for the ILGU.
The International Golf Federation which conducts the Championship, as well as the Olympic Games Golf tournaments, will also host it’s biennial congress in Ireland to coincide with the event.
Sport Ireland are backing the event with a special funding of €100,000 while Fáilte Ireland are also backing it and a number of other sponsors are still being sought to create partnerships.
There is no global television deal agreed yet and the tournament has always been about the occasion for the players as opposed to a wider audience but that may yet change.
The costs of staging such a prestigious tournament will be in line with others at European level and are seen as a wise investment promoting Ireland’s status within World Golf and as a sporting option for young people coming through in the footsteps of the current crop of international superstars.
Paul Dunne and Maria Dunne, who both played at the Championships in 2014 were both present yesterday, and are an indication of the rich talent coming through. Gavin Moynihan and Leona Maguire are others of the current stars of the sport in Ireland that have represented Ireland at this level, though never before on home soil.