Golf

"We're spoiled in Dublin" - Paul McGinley on future Irish Open templates

Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

05:16 8 Jul 2019


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The curtain came down on the 2019 Irish Open and it was previous winner Jon Rahm who triumphed.

The former World No 2 had won at Portstewart in 2017 and followed up that love affair with the Irish tournament in Lahinch this time.

Before the  Irish Open teed off, this year's host Paul McGinley had spoken glowingly about bringing it to a place like Lahinch.

In the wake of a tournament that made a good impact in Co Clare, he reiterated that point when he spoke to Joe Molloy.

"A lot of debate went on before we got Lahinch over the line," he said.

"I had to exert quite a bit of pressure in order for people to buy into the idea that Lahinch was the venue. And it's great that it's turned out that way.

"But the reason why I was so keen to have it was the quality of people down there."

In regards to future, he emphasised the importance of staging the Irish Open away from the Dublin area.

"I speak as a Dub myself. We're spoiled in Dublin. We're all spoilt with big massive, sporting occasions there. Whether it's a concert, GAA, rugby or soccer match, all the big matches are held there.

Circus coming to town

"And we get spoiled as Dubs because you have your 'pick and choose'. So when you go down to a small town like we did in the south-west of Ireland, this is huge. The circus is coming to town. If it was Rosses Point, it would be the same kind of thing.

"I think that's what we've got to prove. There's a lot of debate too about the field: He's playing and he's not playing. The atmosphere makes it more than one or two players coming or not going. Yes, you want the best field possible but the Irish Open should always be bigger than any one player. This is an amazing event, with hopefully a sell-out crowd and great craic around it.

Appearance money not the answer

"'We're going to create a festival and this is what the Irish Open is always going to be about'. And you know what, if you don't want to come, fine. But if you want to come, that's great, you're welcome. I think when you make a brilliant event with huge crowds and really embraced by the public, the players will come more. That's why appearance money is not the answer. You've got to engage them with their hearts. Like Jon Rahm. He comes for the right reasons. He comes because his heart is there."

Confirming the five-year rotation policy, McGinley added that he isn't hosting the next Irish Open. But he spoke of the direction he'd like the tournament to take.

"We've got to showcase our country and particularly our golf courses," he said.

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