Posted on Thursday 24 May 2012 by Ulster Business

Bushmills Irish Open 001

Bushmills Master Distiller Colum Egan with Philip Tweedie, past Captain at Royal Portrush Golf Club, announcing the Irish Open sponsorship 

Bushmills Irish Whiskey has become the latest brand to add its name to the list of sponsors for this year’s Irish Open golf tournament.

The brand, owned by Diageo, will be the official whiskey of the competition and will have exclusive whiskey pouring rights at the tournament.

The 2012 Irish Open on June 28 - July 1, is taking place at Royal Portrush Golf Club, only four miles from the Old Bushmills Distillery.

To celebrate the sponsorship, Colum Egan, Master Distiller at the Old Bushmills Distillery, has risked one of the European Tour’s big drinkers topping the leaderboard by offering the winner of the tournament the ‘Freedom of the Old Bushmills Distillery’, an honour that will see them granted the keys to his private reserve.

Colum Egan said: “It has been 65 years since the Irish Open was contested at Royal Portrush Golf Club and I am delighted that Bushmills Irish Whiskey will be part of one of the biggest sporting events to have ever been staged on the North Coast of Ireland.

He added: “This will be an event that will attract hundreds of thousands of people to the region. Everyone who is coming to the North Coast to watch world class golf, has just four miles to travel to also experience award winning Irish Whiskey at the Old Bushmills Distillery. We are so close we could be the 19th hole!”

Earlier this week the Dubai-based airline Emirates announced its first sponsorship in Ireland by becoming the Irish Open’s official airline.

The airline, which launched a new service from Dublin in January, said the three-year deal showed its commitment to Ireland.

“We have entered into another major sponsorship, supporting sport in Ireland and connecting with golf enthusiasts around the world,” said Salem Obaidalla, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Europe & Russian Federation. “Irish golfers have never had a higher profile, with no fewer than nine current tournament winners active on the European Tour."

The agreement with the Irish Open includes course branding, tournament hospitality, advertising, on-site activity including an exhibition unit and team participation in the Tournament Pro-Am.

While there is as yet no headline sponsor for the Irish Open, a number of firms have come on board as official sponsors, including Brewin Dolphin, BMW, Dale Farm and Moy Park.

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