Irish Open Sees Record Crowds, Profits
The Irish Open golf tournament has been "brought to a crossroads by its phenomenal success" in Royal Portrush, according to Karl MacGinty of the IRISH INDEPENDENT. Last weekend's four-day attendance of 112,280 "marked the first time" attendance figures at a European Tour event exceeded 100,000. Including practice days, 130,785 spectators turned out. That was more than attended the 2009 British Open at Turnberry. The numbers "further strengthened the concept of the Irish Open as 'the People's Tournament.'" While the European Tour is "unlikely ever to turn away a well-heeled title sponsor," the substantial profit generated by the 2012 Irish Open "further reduced the once-overriding imperative to find a major corporate partner." This year's event yielded record receipts of £1.6M ($2.5M) (IRISH INDEPENDENT, 7/3).
FOR CHARITY: U.K. children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent will receive £100,000 ($157,000) from the Irish Open. The charitable arm of The European Tour, the Tour Players Foundation, and the Darren Clarke Foundation joined forces to support CLIC Sargent NI through a Birdie Pledge in which £10 ($15) per birdie, £20 ($31) per eagle and £50 ($79) per albatross made by the players over the four rounds raised a total of £35,620-£17,810 ($56,000-$27,910) from each foundation. Tournament sponsor Brewin Dolphin made a donation of £5,000 ($7,800) while the Caddie Experience with Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey raised £6,000 ($9,400) (European Tour).