|Killeen Castle, Ireland|
“To emphasise our commitment to what we see as the ‘new’ Ireland we have also reached agreement with Failte Ireland to stage a new tournament ‘The Ladies Irish Open.’ We have an initial five year agreement starting from 2008. The venues for this tournament are not yet agreed but it will move around Ireland. In 2010 it will be played at Killeen Castle.
“The Ladies Irish Open is an important addition to the growing Ladies European Tour. In November of this year we staged our first event in Dubai, The Dubai Ladies Masters and looking forward to 2007 we have already announced three new tournaments, the MFS Women’s Australian Open at Royal Sydney, the Ladies European Masters at The Oxfordshire England and the De Vere Ladies Scottish Open at The Carrick on Loch Lomond.
“I would like to thank John O’Donoghue the Minister, Failte Ireland, and the owners of Killeen Castle for making this magnificent commitment to Ladies Golf.”
John O’Donoghue TD, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, said: “I am delighted that Ireland will be hosting The Solheim Cup in 2011. Given the great success of the Ryder Cup in Ireland in September, I was pleased to join forces with Snowbury Ltd to put forward the best possible bid for the holding of The Solheim Cup in Ireland in 2011. The experience and expertise gained over the past eight years since signing the Ryder Cup agreement, ensures that Ireland is ideally placed to host an enhanced Solheim Cup. I look forward to the prospect of developing a long-term relationship with the Ladies European Tour to help invigorate and increase awareness of ladies’ golf in Ireland and further afield.”
Jack Nicklaus, course designer at Killeen Castle, said: “As the course designer, I am proud to be part of what is happening at Killeen Castle. It is phenomenal, what with the Castle as a focal point. You have wonderful facilities to stage The Solheim Cup or the Ryder Cup in the future. It is a very strong course and will be nicely matured for 2011. I congratulate the Ladies European Tour and The Solheim Cup organisers for picking Killeen Castle.”
Brian Wallace, on behalf of Killeen Castle said: “The nomination to stage The Solheim Cup makes another bold statement about Ireland as the leading golf destination in Europe. We at Killeen Castle promise to make it an occasion to remember as the best Solheim Cup ever staged.
“On behalf of myself and my partners, Joe O’Reilly, Liam Maye and John Fitzsimons, I would like to pay tribute to Mr. John O’Donoghue, Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism, the Government, the officials at the Ladies European tour, to Failte Ireland, and to all local representatives, led by Mr. Noel Dempsey TD, for all their proactive work and support in bringing this most prestigious event to Ireland and Killeen Castle”.
John A. Solheim, Chairman and CEO of PING said: “After visiting the site and seeing the development and viewing some of the golf course, I am excited about this venue. I know it will be very challenging for the ladies as well as exciting and enjoyable for the people watching.
“Picking a golf course that is still under construction is not something we would normally consider, however Killen Castle is going to be something very special. Also, we are thrilled to be coming to Ireland for The 2011 Solheim Cup having witnessed first hand how well the Irish hosted this year’s Ryder Cup event.”
It is also fitting that The Solheim Cup is coming to Ireland as the Trophy was originally created in 1990 by Waterford Crystal and has been associated with the matches ever since. The Solheim Cup is indeed ‘coming home.’