Imagine the excitement of a 14-year-old boy whose hero is Páadraig Harrington and is given a chance to be his partner in the 3 Irish Open pro-am! Well, that’s the thrill awaiting Peter McEnery’s 3 Irish Open wish in support of the tournament’s chosen charity, Make-A-Wish, Ireland, in Killarney on Wednesday.
The first part of Peter’s wish was granted last week when he was presented with a new set of clubs from the equipment companies who sponsor the European Tour’s professionals. Now, Peter will play as a special member of Pádraig’s pro-am team.
Harrington, who is a Make-A-Wish ambassador and a huge supporter of the charity along with wife Caroline, was delighted to grant Peter’s wish. The three-time major champion will also present Peter with Kartel golf gear, which has been branded in the style of a Tour professional, to wear on his special day.
Kartel has also teamed up with Pádraig to run a charity drive at the Open by selling special edition polo shirts to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation through the Padraig Harrington Charitable Foundation. The shirts will be on sale at the Kartel stand in the sponsors’ village until Sunday next.
“I’m looking forward to playing golf with Peter and making his wish come true,” said Harrington. “I am sure we will have a lot of fun. Also the initiative from Kartel is a great way to raise funds for Make-A-Wish Ireland, a charity very close to the hearts of myself and Caroline.”
Susan O’Dwyer, chief executive of Make-A-Wish, said: “Peter is certainly going to have a 3 Irish Open golfing experience to remember.”
The wow factor hits you forcefully and most impressively once you arrive at the gates of the Killarney Golf & Fishing Club. The tented village is to be found to the right of the driveway on portion of the Mahonys Point course and it looks absolutely magnificent.
However, it’s the location of the media centre that really takes takes your breath away. It is located within a little chip shot of the clubhouse to one side and majestic Lough Leane on the other and the views in yesterday’s mixture of sunshine, dark and pale clouds were nothing short of majestic. I have frequented press tents at numerous venues in many parts of the golfing world and have seen nothing to match this — or come anywhere close.
It seems that just about everything else has been attended to as well with meticulous attention so that one is left in no doubt that the sponsors, 3, and Fáilte Ireland and the 80,000 spectators expected here over the four days of the tournament will enjoy a very special experience.
The importance of the home players in the field this week cannot be overstated and it certainly hasn’t been lost on the European Tour.
Six players are being invited to the media centre and all but one, England’s two-time winner on the US PGA Tour this year, Justin Rose, are all Irish. Those doing the honours are Pádraig Harrington, Shane Lowry, Darren Clarke, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell.
Back to the tented village once more and the many attractions it will be providing throughout the week. The children will have an absolute ball with the Irish Kids Zone offering giant slides, zorbing, a bouncing castle, climbing wall and trampoline. For the slightly more grown up, there is the Vision Interactive Golf Zone and the Heineken Sports Bar and there will be live music at 1pm, 3.30pm and 6pm each day.
Gadgetry is your thing? Well, you can’t go wrong in the 3 Store and the Samsung Interactive Zone. When it comes to looking after the inner man, there will food of many kinds, much of it with an international flavour.