The Golf Greats Who Love Ireland
We’ve made some pretty big claims about the golfing experience in Ireland on this website and how fine it is. But we don’t expect you to simply take our word for it. Maybe if we tell you about some of the famous players that have chosen to come here and play – and why – that will speak for itself.
For instance, did you know that Tiger Woods prepared for the British Open in 2006 with a whistle-stop helicopter tour of Irish courses? Apparently he also had a go at our world-class fly-fishing but let’s not get sidetracked – we’re here to talk about golf!
Fellow American and four-time major winner Phil Mickelson may not be a fan of Irish women – he once famously said that they were “not that attractive” – but he is a fan of our golf courses, with Lahinch in Co Clare being his favourite links.
Of course, this love affair between the world’s top pros and Irish golf is not a new thing. Legendary Tom Watson famously waxed lyrical about the old course at Ballybunion when he said, “A man might think the game of golf originated here. It looks like a course laid out on land as it was in the 10th century.” His connection with the course was so deep that he was trusted with giving it a facelift in 1995.
So it’s little wonder that the world’s top players continue to play here, both privately and at the major tournaments that we host.
At the 2012 Irish Open which was played at Royal Portrush, international players included Ross Fisher, Jamie Donaldson and Francesco Molinari. They followed in the footsteps of golf superstars like Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, Sam Torrance, Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam and Seve Ballesteros who competed for the same title over the years.
And it’s not just the world’s best pros that can’t get enough of golfing in Ireland. We don’t like to name drop but we’ve had visits from Bill Clinton, Dan Quayle, Michael Jordan...and even the late Neil Armstrong.