The Nissan Irish Open will move to a new prime date of May 19-22 next year when Carton House Golf Club hosts the championship for the first time.

‘The Montgomerie’, a spectacular inland links, situated around the 1100 acre estate of carton Demesne, one of Ireland’s greatest stately homes and one time ancestral seat of the Earls of Kildare and the Dukes of Leinster, was announced as the host course last month.

Carton House Golf Club represents Colin Montgomerie’s first golf course design in Ireland and opened in June 2003. At full length, the course measures 7,300 yards. A great mix of long par fours backed up with tricky short holes will provide a stern test for Europe’s finest.

The combination of an outstanding course and the traditionally strong date, the week before the PGA Championship, is sure to attract another world-class field to Ireland The month of May has always been one of the premier slots in The European Tour International Schedule when the eyes of the golfing world are focused on mainland Europe after early forays to South Africa, Australia and the Far East in the first months of the year.

The Nissan Irish Open will also be an integral part of an important run of events that culminates in the season’s second Major Championship – the US Open Championship at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club – a month later.

Australian Brett Rumford will be defending the title following his impressive victory over the sensational links at County Louth Golf Club, Baltray, in July, when he held off the challenge of home favourite Padraig Harrington and Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin.

Gerard O’Toole, Executive Chairman, Nissan Ireland, said: ‘The new date is a great opportunity for the Nissan Irish Open to attract some of the leading players on The European Tour. By securing this new date coupled with a superb venue like Carton House we are confident that we can now realistically achieve our goal of attracting Europe’s elite players and greatly look forward to a spectacular 2005 Nissan Irish Open.’

Minister John O’Donoghue, TD, Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism, said: ‘I welcome the date change as a constructive move that will manifest itself in a positive light for the Nissan Irish Open. The early season golfing appetite is whetted by the prospect of the event being separated from the sporting clutter of high summer.

‘This revitalising new date will now afford the Nissan Irish Open the full spotlight that one of Ireland’s renowned annual sporting spectaculars deserves. This is a tremendous fillip for the event and for its related tourism benefits. The Government and Fáilte Ireland, through the International Sports Tourism Initiative, are committed to the continued support and promotion of Ireland’s wonderful golfing product.’

George O’Grady, Executive Director Designate of The European Tour, said: ‘The Nissan Irish Open has always occupied a special place on The European Tour International Schedule and the combination of a new date and venue is a positive step forward for this wonderful championship.

‘On behalf of The European Tour, I would like to thank Gerard O’Toole and his team from Nissan Ireland, and Fáilte Ireland, for their continued support of the Nissan Irish Open and golf in Ireland.’

For further information, please contact:

European Tour Communications Division
Tel: +44 1344 840400
Fax: +44 1344 840444