'Sport Changes Life' named as primary beneficiary for Irish Open

Rory McIlroy and the Rory Foundation made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon

Rory McIlroy, Irish Open

Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Rory McIlroy and the Rory Foundation have named Sport Changes Life as the primary beneficiary charity for this year's Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

The UK registered and US non-profit organisation works in disadvantaged communities in Northern Ireland to "help young people find a path to a brighter future with the help of international student-athletes, the Victory Scholars."

"I’m delighted to announce that Sport Changes Life will benefit from this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open," McIlroy said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Sport is obviously an enormous part of my life and has been since I was a kid. It’s so diverse and to be involved in some shape or form is a great way to gain confidence and express yourself.

"To host the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open for a third year is fantastic and I’m really looking forward to going to Portstewart.

"We’ve really seen the tournament grow over the last number of years and it’s a great platform to showcase what my Foundation does.

"To see how charities can greatly benefit, and especially after the win last year, means a lot to me."

Barry Funston, Chief Executive of the Rory Foundation said: "I’m delighted the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is back in Northern Ireland this year.

"The tournament enables us to build on our platform for positive change reaching into the community and developing innovative initiatives to help children and young people in most need.

"Having teamed up with Sport Changes Life over a year ago, we’ve seen what great work they’ve done with their Victory Scholar initiative and we’re excited to continue our partnership into the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

"A percentage of all ticket sales from the tournament will go directly to the Rory Foundation. We are very much looking forward to a sell-out event."

Rory McIlroy celebrates winning the Irish Open last year. The tournament, hosted by the Rory Foundation for the last two years, has seen a regeneration and now features on the European Tour's newly established Rolex Series. Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

The money raised by the Rory Foundation for Sport Changes Life will go towards their eHoops programme - a 24-week programme designed for youth aged between 14 and 19 years of age.

The programme is created "to mentor young people through difficult times in their lives and address social issues of concern with the aim to help the young people with their education, job search, health and mental well-being through the aid of the Victory Scholars."

Gareth Maguire, CEO and Co-Founder of Sport Changes Life, said: "We are honoured and excited to be selected as one of the beneficiaries of the Rory Foundation, as they host the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

"We would especially like to thank Barry Funston for all of his efforts as we work together to create more opportunities that will change the lives of the young people we are working with through sport.

"Together Sport Changes Life, Rory and the Rory Foundation have been building towards raising the aspirations of young people in the areas around Northern Ireland that will benefit greatly from our programmes.

"We can’t wait to support Rory and the Rory Foundation during the Irish Open."

The DDF Irish Open, hosted by the Rory Foundation, will be held at Portstewart Golf Club from the 6th-9th July.