The Irish Open is my favourite tournament however the 2014 offering will be quickly banished to a deep recess in my memory vaults. The Open is about playing the main event and socialising when knocked out. Unfortunately for me there was no socialising this year. I could feel a tooth that I knew needed extracting flaring up on Tuesday night. I ignored it and paid the price of being thoroughly miserable over the weekend.
It €™s a tradition at this stage to spend a couple of day €™s pre Irish Open in the K-club. The recent line up is John, Marty & Tom Hanlon. It has always been a worry that Marty would someday take a leaf out of the Ivey book of golf hustling and sure enough that time arrived. While discussing where our handicaps were at before the first round I told Marty he was getting two shots from me. I knew I was in trouble when he slyly winked and said €œsure we €™ll play off scratch €. It was a bloodbath, leaving lasting scars for John and I; even poor Tom only won a grand.
Onto the Burlo, now the Double Tree by Hilton hotel and upon arriving it was noticeable that no banners were in place at the front of the hotel announcing the event. I toyed with the idea of spending Thursday night playing the satellite but with an abscess flaring up in my mouth an early night was deemed the best option.
I had a very nice table on day one. A couple of good players but definitely came out the right side of the table draw lottery. It was a decent enough day overall finishing a little ahead of average chips on 56k. I peaked for the day at around the 70k mark but had a bad last two levels.
The run good day one table draw certainly evened itself out for day two. Seat 1 Andrew Black 2. Derek Murray 3. Albert Kenny 4. mise 5. Karen Muir 6. Marco Sabatini 7. Dan Wilson 8. Dan Rankin 9. Chris Cooke. A formidable line up but I was looking forward to the challenge going into the days play.
The first few levels of day two went well getting to 90k three levels in, but that was to be my tournament peak. I returned from dinner at the 1200/2400 level with 20 big blinds, lost 15 of them to Albert with AQ v QQ and the rest shortly after to another player AQ v 44. It €™s always gutting to exit that tournament but I had no regrets with my play over the two days which makes it easier.
I hung around for a couple of hours after my exit but eventually decided it would be a mistake to hit the bar given my dental problems and hit the road.
There had been some encouraging signs that things were picking up on the live tournament front in Ireland this year. I was hopeful the Irish Open could at least match last year €™s numbers making the 20% reduction in field size disappointing.
It was announced during this year €™s festival that the tournament would return to a ‚¬3,500 buy in for 2015. One has to be fearful the decision to reduce the buy in over the last two years has permanently damaged the international allure of the tournament. Hopefully not and going forward the event can regain some momentum.