Rory McIlroy has significantly increased his commitment to the Irish Open with the announcement that his charitable foundation, 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 Number One’s heart and one which witnessed 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 in conjunction with The European Tour.
As the tournament host, McIlroy is committed to enhancing an already world-class field by recruiting his fellow players from both The European and US PGA Tours, and the four-time Major Champion will also work closely alongside the Tour in developing the event’s commercial and sponsorship activities.
At the announcement, which was made on Sky Sports on Sunday evening, McIlroy said: “Since making my debut in 2005, the Irish Open has always been a special tournament to me. 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 added: “It’s a coincidence, 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.”
Welcoming the announcement, O’Grady said: “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.
“As the Chief Executive of The European Tour, it has been a true pleasure watching Rory’s transition from one of the world’s leading amateur golfers in 2007 to the Number One golfer in the world and a four-time Major Champion.
“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.”