€250,000 raised for Make-A-Wish® Ireland at 2023 Horizon Irish Open Golf C’ship

by Rose Barrett
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A total of €250,000 was raised for Make-A-Wish® Ireland at the 2023 Horizon Irish Open with more than €81,300 of that amount coming from the Birdies for Wishes initiative on the 18th hole. The total more than doubles the figure raised at the tournament in 2022.

Horizon Therapeutics, now in the second of its six-year Title Sponsorship of the island of Ireland’s national open, appointed Make-A-Wish Ireland as the tournament’s Official Charity last year, with the aim of raising funds to grant wishes to children living with life-threatening conditions.

Horizon and CEO donate €100,000 through Birdies for Wishes and ‘wear green’ initiatives

The ‘Birdies for Wishes’ campaign was one of several fundraising initiatives on site, with a total of 233 birdies and 19 eagles on the closing hole at The K Club. Aaron Cockerill and Gavin Green made the biggest impact as they both carded two eagles and a birdie across the four rounds

Horizon donated €150 for every birdie and €300 for every eagle made on the 18th hole on the Palmer North Course which came to €40,650. Horizon Chairman, President and CEO, Tim Walbert personally matched that figure taking the total to €81,300. Horizon also committed to donating €1 for every person on site who wore green during Saturday’s third round, with approximately 13,000 attendees participating. Horizon and Tim Walbert then pledged to round up the combined figure of €94,300 for Birdies for Wishes and Saturday’s ‘wear green’ fundraising to a total of €100,000.

The DP World Tour matched Horizon’s donation for Saturday’s ‘wear green’ initiative and the Birdies for Wishes total for the third round, amounting to €20,000

Ambassadors Pádraig Harrington, Shane Lowry and Séamus Power donate €22,000

Horizon Ambassadors Pádraig Harrington, Shane Lowry and Séamus Power also contributed €22,000 to the fundraising effort. The trio pledged to donate €500 for every birdie and €1,000 for every eagle they carded during the week. 

Pro-Am attendees generously contributed over €59,000 to the cause. There were also a number of cash and contactless collection points across the site at The K Club. Combined with the ever-popular Mega-Putt Challenge in the Championship Village plus an online auction of a sculpture by Irish artist Patrick O’Reilly, over €42,000 was raised directly on site. More than €6,000 was also donated by spectators when they purchased their tickets for the Horizon Irish Open.

The charity’s incredible work was witnessed on site at The K Club last week as golf superstar Rory McIlroy went above and beyond in delivering Michael Horgan’s wish of meeting the four-time Major Champion. Mcllroy played the final hole of his Pro-Am round in the company of seven-year-old Michael, who is living with a brain tumour, making his wish an unforgettable reality.

Cian Hayes, who battled T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, was given a full inside the ropes experience as he watched Shane Lowry up close and had the chance to meet Ryder Cup Captain Luke Donald, three-time Major Champion Pádraig Harrington and DP World Tour winner Tom McKibbin. The 17-year-old has also been invited by Make-A-Wish to a custom fitting for a new set of golf clubs.

The funds raised at this year’s Horizon Irish Open will help grant more wishes to children between the ages of three and 17 living with life-threatening medical conditions.

Susan McQuaid O’Dwyer commented, “The Horizon Irish Open has, once again this year, proven to be a platform for us to showcase the incredible work we do at Make-A-Wish Ireland and the impact it has on the lives of wish children and their families. This year was no exception as we had the privilege of granting two unforgettable wishes, thanks to the support and generosity of the DP World Tour and Horizon. We extend our deepest gratitude to Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry, and our Ambassador Padraig Harrington, for their unwavering commitment to our charity and to making these wishes come true.

“Furthermore, we are incredibly thankful for the overwhelming support we received from the 120 volunteers who dedicated their time and efforts to fundraising this weekend. Their dedication and passion played a vital role in the success of this event. The funds raised during the Horizon Irish Open will greatly contribute to fulfilling the increasing number of wish applications we have received throughout the past year. This means that more children like Michael and Cian will have their dreams turned into reality.

“The partnership with the Horizon Irish Open remains crucial to our annual budget and allows us to continue bringing joy and hope to children who are battling life-threatening illnesses. We look forward to the next four years and the opportunity to positively impact even more lives. Together, we can make a difference and create memorable experiences for those who need it the most.”

“It has been a fantastic week at the Horizon Irish Open with our charity partners at Make-A-Wish Ireland,” said Tim Walbert. “The significant amount raised will support this incredible organisation to continue to touch many lives and to bring strength and hope to children in need right across Ireland. The generosity of our Horizon ambassadors, Shane Lowry, Pádraig Harrington and Séamus Power, and our Pro-Am participants has been met by the generosity of the Irish public and we are grateful for every donation that has been made.” 

Paul Gillmon, Championship Director of the Horizon Irish Open, said: “The return of the Horizon Irish Open to The K Club was an overwhelming success and we are delighted to see a significant amount of money raised for Make-A-Wish Ireland across the week.

“The contributions made by Title Partner Horizon, their CEO Tim Walbert, Ambassadors Pádraig, Séamus and Shane, pro-am participants and the thousands of spectators who donated in the Tournament Village will make a huge difference to the lives of children living with life-threatening conditions.

“We saw first-hand the incredible impact Make-A-Wish Ireland can have when Michael Horgan met his hero Rory McIlroy and when Cian Hayes had the chance to meet some of our stars and have a behind-the-scenes tour. The outpouring of support for the charity as a result has been great to see and we look forward to working alongside them once again in 2024.”

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