Rory McIlroy wasn’t pulling his punches yesterday when he declared that “it would be a dream come true for me. I have played and competed at much worse venues in the Ryder Cup and I am very confident that it would be very successful here.”
Among his audience was Keith Pelley, CEO of the European Tour in whose hands will be the awarding of the 2026 match (it is set for Paris, in September next, and Rome in 2022). He was prepared to discuss Adare’s claims while insisting that the decision was still a long way off.
“The conversations we’ve had with JP and other people who’ve expressed an interest is that our real focus is Paris 2018 and delivering the greatest Ryder cup that we’ve ever produced”, said Pelly. “After that, we’ll turn our attention to 2026.
“We have a fiduciary responsibility to our board, players and fans and world of golf to choose the best venue for the most iconic event in the world.
Adare Manor is nothing short of spectacular. When you hear the players talk about it last night, it’s a masterpiece.
JP has unwavering commitment to excellence. Not only a true ambassador for Limerick – I was listening to the driver coming in about him – to get those four players here, that doesn’t happen very easily.”
McIlroy was speaking at the official opening of the magnificently redesigned parkland and the launch of the 2020 JP McManus pro-am. McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Pádraig Harrington and Shane Lowry marked the occasion by playing an 18 hole exhibition match in front of some 1,500 guests in delightful weather conditions.
Such a pleasure to play @TheAdareManor today. The golf course is parkland perfection. The exhibition match finished level with the real winner being the stunning venue. Roll on #JPProAm2020 ⛳️ pic.twitter.com/3e4I1UBvnY— Rory McIlroy (@McIlroyRory) April 20, 2018
Adare owner JP McManus has made no secret of his ambition to house the 2026 Ryder Cup over the course originally designed by the late Robert Trent Jones and now transformed into a world-class lay-out by another leading American architect, Tom Fazio, with considerable assistance from Padraig Harrington. Not surprisingly, bringing the bi-annual clash of Europe and the United States to this country dominated the press conference with the four players.
“For me, it would be incredible to be part of a European team here in Ireland”, said McIlroy. “I wasn’t part of the 2006 at the K-Club, but I was there on the Sunday.
“Just thinking about playing a Ryder Cup at home here in Ireland in front of your own fans is enough to put the hairs standing up on the back your neck.”
Not surprisingly, Paul McGinley, himself one of the most successful European Ryder Cup captains of all time, is also enthusiastic about the event coming to Adare Manor.
“The opening of this course is very important for Ireland”, he stressed. “Who would have thought it possible? Talking about the firmness of the greens which is the real key, the sub-air system is responsible ... Augusta National have it, very few courses around the world have it, it’s a very expensive system that goes underneath the greens and controls the firmness.
“For me personally being involved in a little bit of golf design, to be sitting on the shoulder of Tom Fazio is very special, he’s on top of his game and is the Rory McIlroy of golf architecture, to go around the golf course with him and listen to him explain what he’s doing is a great education for me.
“I am 100% behind (the Ryder Cup) coming. I’m off the European Tour board but as an Irishman, I’m 100% behind it. A Ryder Cup here would represent the EuropeanTour incredibly well – and more importantly, it would represent Ireland very well.”
Shane Lowry turned the heat up still further on Keith Pelley when he enthused about the exceptional quality of just about everything associated with Adare Manor: “I got up here in a car this morning and even driving around the practice range, all I wanted to do was to get a bucket of balls and hit them and that would have done me.”