Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
The deal was struck between the Irish government and the European Tour to bring the biennial tournament between Europe and the USA to Limerick, in the south-west of the country. It’s another huge boost for Irish golf, after Irishman Shane Lowry won the 148thOpen at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland last week.
Lowry is now focused on making the Ryder Cup team, captained by fellow Irishman Padraig Harrington, which will take on the Americans at Whistling Straits in 2020. The event was last staged in Ireland at the K Club near Dublin in 2006 when Europe won by 18.5 to 9.5 points. The Adare Manor course was built in 1995 and hosted the Irish Open in 2007 and 2008.
The 7,509-yard, par 72 course, set among 840 acres of pristine parkland, with cedar and oakwood trees and the natural water hazard of the River Maigue, has been called the most beautiful parkland course outside of Augusta National, home to the Masters. Each hole could be crowned the feature hole.
All 18 holes have been redesigned by celebrated golf architect Tom Fazio, the man behind Quail Hollow, No.4 and No.8 courses at Pinehurst, as well as several prominent redesigns, including Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles and Augusta National in Georgia. His firm also renovated the Kasumigaseki Country Club’s East Course in Tokyo, the host venue of the 2020 Olympic Games.
Fazio has utilised the mature trees and the natural banks of the river to great effect and the course also includes the latest technological advances including restructured greens, each with sub-air systems to regulate firmness. It’s generous off the tee without too much rough, and there’s a lot of elevated greens.
The layout has a spacious front nine affording a good sense of the local natural beauty. The back nine is less open, working its way through forested land before arriving back at the manor. The course has the length for tournaments, though a nice selection of tee positions is available for less accomplished players.
The Ryder Cup coming to Adare Manor is thanks largely to Irish billionaire JP McManus, a golf fanatic who was born in Limerick where the course is located.
The racehorse tycoon and former Manchester United part-owner made it his personal goal for the venue to host the event. He bought Adare Manor for a reputed €30m in 2014 and has spent a further €70million revamping it. He has a current estimated wealth of just over €2 billion.
McManus is a friend of Tiger Woods, who married Elin Nordegren at the McManus-owned Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados in 2004. He was also a close friend of former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and built an almost 30% shareholding in the club, until selling to the American Glazer family.
McManus said: “I am delighted that the prestigious Ryder Cup will return to Ireland. We were very happy that Adare Manor was chosen as the venue for this world renowned tournament in 2026 and we look forward to welcoming our worldwide visitors.”
The renovated course at Adare Manor reopened last year and became the most expensive course in Ireland with green fees of €330 a round. The manor itself is a stunning, huge 19th century manor house and is now a luxury hotel.
Adare Manor and Golf Resort was named Hotel of the Year 2018 at the prestigious Virtuoso Best of the Best Awards in Las Vegas. The newly refurbished and expanded hotel has 104 guest rooms and suites in addition to Manor lodges and garden cottages, a grand ballroom that can accommodate 350 persons for formal occasions, a signature La Mer Spa, a fully renovated and expanded clubhouse, locker rooms and dining facilities, cinema, boardroom, dining options and all estate infrastructure and amenities.
The clubhouse, The Carriage House, is a worthy counterpart to the golf course. It has an expert team and comprehensively stocked Pro Shop, welcoming locker rooms, and exciting options for food, drink, and relaxation. The Carriage House features a world-class restaurant.
Adare Manor hosted the JP McManus Pro-Am in 2005 and 2010 and will do so again in 2020, for the sixth staging of the event. Newly-crowned Open Championship winner Shane Lowry will be joined by the likes of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose. Celebrities Hugh Grant, Mark Wahlberg and Niall Horan have also committed to play. The charity Pro-Am event takes place on July 6 and 7.
It will be Woods’ fourth appearance in the tournament after winning on his debut at Limerick Golf Club in 2000. Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm, Henrik Stenson and Paul Casey also join the impressive line-up. The professionals play an individual 36-hole stroke play event over the two days. Each team consists of one professional and three amateur partners. The team event will be a 36-hole team with the one best net score to count at each hole.
Charitable organisations in the Mid-West will benefit from the Pro-Am, with millions raised since the event was first held in 1990. Ticket caps are currently priced at €50, which admits holders to both days of the tournament.
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