Former Ryder Cup winning Captain, Paul McGinley has revealed that the Irish Senior Open will return to our shores for the first time since 2010 when the Legends Tour comes to Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort next year.
Speaking ahead of the launch of the new Legends Tour that’s replacing Europe’s over-50’s Staysure circuit, the Ambassador for the Tour, McGinley, expressed his delight, not only to be handed the hosting reins at another significant event on the Irish sporting calendar, but also to have the opportunity to showcase the north west of Ireland and particularly Rosapenna, a place that’s always been close to the heart of the now 53-year old.
“A lot of people know my connections are very close to Donegal, my Mam and Dad are both from there, so I’m delighted to say we’re going to Rosapenna next year,” said McGinley.
“If you go on my twitter page, you’ll see a picture of me at Rosapenna. The course is designed by Old Tom Morris, it’s got great history to it. It’s just spectacular and the hotel is fabulous.
“It’s in a part of Ireland that not a lot of people visit, most people focus on the south west corner of the country so I’m going north west and I’ll do everything I can to get a strong field up there and hopefully it will be part of the Legends Series.”
McGinley was praised far and wide for his hosting performance at last year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch and COVID-19 pending, he hopes to take much of that winning formula and inject it into the project at Rosapenna as he looks to replicate the festival atmosphere of County Clare last summer.
“I think the players, amateurs and pros will absolutely love it and I have no doubt that the locals will embrace it as well,” McGinley added.
“I’ve got lots of ideas – all COVID dependent – of parties and things like that that were very successful last year at Lahinch. The McGinley Foundation will be hosting again and bringing all the things that worked well at Lahinch to the north west of Ireland so we’re very excited.”
The news comes hot on the heels of the launch of a new era for over-50’s golf in Europe with the unveiling of the Legends Tour following a ground-breaking joint venture agreement between the European Tour and Staysure Founder and Group CEO Ryan Howsam.
Under the unique agreement, Howsam, who founded insurance firm Staysure in 2004, will take a majority equity share in the Legends Tour – formerly known as the Staysure Tour – and will oversee the Tour’s commercial strategy.
Entrepreneur Howsam will work alongside the Head of the Legends Tour, Mark Aspland, and the current Tour staff with a clear focus on driving greater consumer engagement, particularly among the affluent European 50+ year old mature market of which Staysure has a growing database of over 5.5 million.
The hope is that by granting access to this database of targeted contacts to would-be sponsors, on top of an unrivalled pro-am experience, investors will be presented with a unique opportunity to get more from their sponsorship than ever before. The proposal is sure to increase revenue streams for the senior tour in Europe and by consequence, prize pots should begin to deepen too.
“I think in a few years’ time, there’s going to be a very different dynamic involved in seniors golf in Europe than there has been over the past 5 years or so,” said McGinley, who joins Ian Woosnam, Paul Lawrie and Mark James as Ambassadors of the Tour.
“One of the things Ryan has been very keen on is getting the big names involved here. Having ex-Ryder Cup captains and major winners who are not interested in or not entitled to playing on the Champions Tour to stay in Europe, let’s use that dynamic as a positive moving forward.
“We all know in golf, regardless of tour, it’s the big names that drive it forward so with us involved and bought into the idea, I really do think the landscape for seniors golf, both professionally and indeed amateur, is going to change for the better around Europe in the next few years.”