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Page last updated at 14:54 GMT, Thursday, 5 November 2009

Lough Erne tour event hopes fade

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy is Lough Erne resort's touring professional

Hopes that the Lough Erne golf resort in County Fermanagh could host a European Tour event next year appear to have been dashed.

Chubby Chandler, promoter of the British Masters, was keen to see the event returning to the tour calendar at the Northern Ireland venue in 2010.

However, Chandler appears to have been thwarted in his ambitions for 2010.

"We've failed at the final hurdle and it's unlikely now that we will pull it off," said Chandler.

Rory McIlroy was hoping to get the chance to grab a European Tour win at the resort where he is touring professional.

But attempts by promoters International Sports Management (ISM) to secure funding from the Northern Ireland authorities appear to have floundered.

The British Masters moved from the Forest of Arden to The Belfry in 2006 but sponsors Quinn Direct pulled out due to the financial crisis and this year's event was cancelled.

ISM chief Chandler hoped to revive the tournament by rebranding it the Northern Ireland Masters.

Discussion and action are two different things and it is hard enough work keeping the 3 Irish Open going

European Tour chief George O'Grady

Dates of 16-19 September had been mooted to stage the event at the Faldo Championship Course - just two weeks before the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.

Around £2.7 in funding from the Northern Ireland authorities would have been required to stage the event.

McIlroy is convinced that Lough Erne is good enough to stage a world-class event.

Speaking at last week's Volvo World Match Play in Spain, McIlroy said: "I don't know the details of what is being discussed but I do know Lough Erne would be a fantastic venue for a European Tour event."

Around 6,000 fans packed the resort last July to watch McIlroy beat Padraig Harrington in an exhibition dubbed 'The Duel on the Lough'.

European Tour boss George O'Grady said in Spain last week that the matter was in the hands of ISM and he had no news of a tour event in Northern Ireland next year.

O'Grady said: "ISM are the promoters and I know there was a lot of discussion around the time of that exhibition match in the summer.

"But discussion and action are two different things and it is hard enough work keeping the 3 Irish Open going."

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see also
Mcllroy beats Harrington at Erne
22 Jul 09 |  Golf
Lough Erne could host Tour event
02 Jun 09 |  Golf
McIlroy/Harrington clash at Erne
24 Mar 09 |  Golf
British Masters dropped from Tour
13 May 09 |  Golf

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