Category: Archive

Ballybunion row over Irish Open

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mark Jones

DUBLIN — A row has blown up at the world famous Ballybunion golf club in county Kerry over the staging of next year’s Irish Open championship. The tournament sponsors, Murphy’s brewery, want to bring the Irish Open to Ballybunion for the millennium. However, club members are divided over whether the course should host the championship.

In earlier discussions, the Ballybunion committee imposed an attendance limit of 4,000 spectators a day in order to protect the links from damage. But that figure was unacceptable to Murphy’s, who wanted between 10,000 and 12,000 a day.

With no hint of compromise in the air, the chances of the Irish Open moving to Ballybunion appeared to be scuppered. Until last week, that is, when a group of members, disgruntled at the way the committee had handled matters, called for an extraordinary general meeting to discuss the issue.

The group of members, who represent business interests in the Kerry town, want the committee to change its restriction on attendance figures so that the tournament can go ahead.

Since 1991, the Irish Open has been staged at parkland courses, but because of Ireland’s links tradition, many want the tournament returned to links. President Clinton played at Ballybunion last year and Tom Watson is club captain for the millennium.

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