Nine year old Sean Reddy had the experience of a lifetime during Irish Open week when he got a behind the scenes VIP tour. Sean was a guest of the European Tour on the Wednesday after his letter was selected as one of four winning entries from hundreds of letters sent in from pupils and schools all over Ireland. In addition to his VIP tour, Sean also won a prize for his school, and several of his friends from Gaelscoil Ui Drisceoil in Glanmire were also in the K Club for a special golf clinic courtesy of the Confederation of Golf in Ireland.
Sean’s VIP tour started in the media centre where 2015 winner Soren Kjeldsen was holding his press conference, and young golfer from Ballyvolane was invited to ask Kjeldsen a question in the middle of the press conference. After that there was a chance for a one on one chat and some pictures with the defending champion. After that it was over to the driving range and then into the Palmer Clubhouse at the K Club and a visit to players lounge. Throughout the tour, the Tournament Director Antonia Beggs gave Sean and the other lucky winners details on how everything works behind the scenes, answering plenty of questions from the inquisitive kids. There was a very relaxed atmosphere at the K Club on Wednesday as the professionals use the Pro-Am to tune up their games for the start of the tournament proper. Lots of golfers were happy to stop for pictures and a quick chat as a large number of schools used the day to visit the showpiece event.
After lunch Sean joined his friends from Gaelscoil Ui Drisceoil for a golf skills session with Jennifer Hickey and her team from the Confederation of Golf in Ireland. The pupils were put through their paces over four stations where they practiced driving chipping and putting. They also had a go at the CGI washing machine challenge. The CGI staff had a washing machine on site and the object was to emulate Rory McIlroy’s training drill of trying to chip balls into the washing machine when he was younger. At the end of the session the pupils were all given gifts from the CGI as a memento of their visit to the Irish Open.
It was Sean’s second day at the K Club. On Tuesday he was also onsite at the Irish Open venue as a guest of Nike. Last year Nike invited Sean and his Dad Simon to an exclusive Rory McIlroy event in London, and this year he was invited on board the Nike tour truck to see how the master technicians build and repair clubs for Europe’s top golfers. Sean had the chance to meet JP Fitzgerald, McIlroy’s caddy and JP took him through all of the clubs in Rory’s bag explaining how any why they make the club selections. Rory also joined in and stood in for a picture with JP and Sean. It was an action packed two days as Sean and Simon also attended the Rory McIlroy Foundation event in Dublin on Tuesday night. A big Man United fan, Sean was delighted to see Alex Ferguson on stage at the event.