Clarke, one of Tourism Ireland’s golf ambassadors alongside world number one Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley, was confirmed in the role by the European Tour ystdy/Wed Feb 18 to lead Europe’s Ryder Cup defence at Hazeltine National in Minnesota, USA, from September 30 to October 2, 2016.
The 46-year-old will be the second Irishman in succession to captain Europe after McGinley led the continent to its eighth victory in 10 meetings against America last September, and Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, believes his appointment can provide an additional boost to golf tourism across the island.
Gibbons said: “Congratulations to Darren Clarke on being named Europe’s new Ryder Cup captain. This is wonderful news indeed – with Darren following in the footsteps of one of our other great golf ambassadors, Paul McGinley.
“This honour reminds golfers everywhere that the island of Ireland truly is the ‘Home of Champions’ – presenting Tourism Ireland with an invaluable opportunity to highlight the island of Ireland as a world-class golf destination to prospective golf holidaymakers around the world. We wish Darren every success as Europe’s new Ryder Cup captain.”
Latest figures show that the economic impact of golf tourism in Ireland has risen to £33million, up from £27million, and promoting Ireland as a leading global golf destination will be a major focus for Tourism Ireland in Britain and other key worldwide markets in 2015.
The organisation has launched an extensive programme of promotions to help deliver its aim this year, and at the heart of the promotional activity will be the 2015 Irish Open, which will take place at Royal County Down from May 28-31.
It will be the first time in 75 years that the event has been played at the historic links venue in Newcastle, Co. Down, and the tournament is set to attract global attention, with home favourite McIlroy set to lead a star-studded field of world-class stars.
Golf is the world’s largest sports-related travel market and Tourism Ireland is committed to promoting the message that a golfing holiday on the island is about much more than a round of 18 holes – with the combination of Ireland’s world-class golf product and its unique brand of hospitality playing a key role in attracting golfers worldwide to visit.
With some of the most famous venues anywhere in the world, Ireland offers golfers the complete package with top championship courses, stunning scenery, fascinating history and some of the best craic around.