The three-time Ryder Cup winner isrelishing the event admitting: “Baltray is probably my favourite links course in Ireland, it is just such a fun course to play: it’s the kind of course you finish a round on and you can’t wait to come back the next day to play it again.
“It’s not too long a course but its main defence is ball control: you have to be able to control, particularly on the par threes which are among the best in the world.
“It’s just a great test — all the holes run in different directions so you have a different exam paper on each hole — and the players all raved about it the last time it was there in 2004. I am delighted it’s going back there.
“I was a junior member there when I was a kid and I have a lot of fond memories of the place.”
McGinley admitted he had concerns for the future of the event before mobile phone giant 3 took the title sponsorship.
“There was a real tricky period last year when we feared the worst for the Irish Open,” said McGinley.
“I think a lot of credit has to go to Tom Kane at Adare Manor because he did his best with it and put a lot of his own financial resources into it and we had two great years at Adare, but for whatever reason we couldn’t keep it going.
“To have a company like 3 on board, given the financial difficulties at the moment is an unbelievable step for us.
“I just hope that 3 get a lot of value out of the week. They are giving us serious financial backing and I hope that they get a lot out of the week with a strong field because I know the players will get a lot out of it.”
Robert Finnegan, chief executive of 3, said: “It is fantastic news that a player of Paul’s calibre will be playing in Baltray. Paul’s 2002 Ryder Cup performance was unforgettable and we hope he will create more great sporting memories at The 3 Irish Open. The 3 Irish Open is shaping up to be the sporting event of 2009 and this ever popular Dubliner is sure to be a draw for Irish golfing fans.”