Since its inception the JP McManus Invitational Pro Am has gone from strength to strength. First staged in 1990 at Limerick Golf Club the now 5 yearly event helped raise €1.2m for local charities.
By the time of the third event in 2005 the event had outgrown Limerick Golf Club and moved to a new home at Adare Manor, just across the river from Shannon Airport. Among those attending that year were world class players such as Tiger Woods, Ernie Ells and Colin Montgomery along with celebrities such as Michael Owen (then playing with Real Madrid) and Bon Jovi drummer Tico Torres. The growing success of the format had driven the fund raising to total a massive €31m.
This year’s tournament was held on July 5 and 6, again at Adare Manor and this year’s attendees included Tiger Woods, Ernie Ells, Jose Maria Olazabal and Luke Donald among the 55 professional golfers whilst the celebrity attendees included actors Michael Douglas, Hugh Grant, Samuel L Jackson, Kyle Mac Lachlan along with Westlife, Harry Redknapp, Jamie Redknapp and Martin O’Neill. Over 80,000 spectators attended the two day tournament with Ireland’s Darren Clarke becoming a one shot winner over England’s Luke Donald.
As in other years, Shannon Airport was the focus of the major airlift before, during and after the competition with early arrivals on Saturday and the last of the partygoers departing on Wednesday. Total bizjet numbers were down on the 2005 event, no doubt due to the current worldwide economic state of affairs but also due to the fact that two major competitions were staged on either side of the Atlantic immediately before the JP ProAm – The French Open finished on Sunday as did the AT&T National in Newtown Square, PA. A number of the European tour golfers arrived from Paris CDG on Sunday night aboard Titan Airways Bae 146 G-ZAPN. A number of the US golfers arrived in Shannon on Monday morning aboard Boeing 727-232 registered N727NY which arrived from Philadelphia. The “main man” – Tiger Woods used his Gulfstream 550 registered N517QS. The aircraft is registered to GTW Corp in Orlando (Golf Tiger Woods) and was operated by Net Jets subsidiary Executive Jet Management with callsign EJM 517.
N727NY, Boeing 727-232 (msn 20646) is a 1973 vintage aircraft, operated by Swift Air and brought a number of golfers from Philadelphia after the AT&T National at Newtown Square.
N502JL, Bombardier Global Express (msn 9050) is operated by Las Vegas based Hannover Aviation and was one the early visitors, arriving on Saturday morning.
N526EE, Gulfstream 5 (msn 519) is registered to the ubiquitous Wells Fargo Bank but carries the personalised registration of golfer Ernie Ells. It was one of the few “owner driver” (no pun intended) bizjets owned by a golfer to appear in Shannon during the tournament.
Keeping up local appearances was Irish business mogul Denis O’Brien with his Gulfstream 550 registered VP-BJK (msn 5200).
Helicopter transport for the short VIP trip across the Shannon to Adare was provided by Agusta A109E Power registered EI-NTH (msn 11651) and Westair’s Bell 430 EI-WAV.
As is to be expected at an event such as this, European Net Jets was well represented with either end of the scale featuring : Raytheon Beechjet 400XP registered CS-DMB (msn RK-403), above and Dassault Falcon 7X registered CS-DSA (msn 30), below both feature the latest European Net Jets colour schemes.