Despite a disappointing first round at the the Dubai World Championship, Padraig Harrington was optimistic about his future in the Irish Open.

The major Irish golf event was jeopardized recently when “3," the main sponsor withdrew.

However, George O'Grady, the Chief Executive of the 2011 competition, remains hopeful a sponsorship deal will come through, an optimism which Harrington shares.

"I met with George and there is a plan in hand but the Tour badly need to find a sponsor," Harrington told the Irish Independent.

"Yet '3' have brought the Irish Open to a level where it has potential and must be regarded as a big event again in Europe.

"It was an exciting event last year at Killarney. The crowds were superb. It was a profitable gate and a good return for the tournament in that sense," he added.

"Three years ago, it was tough to find a sponsor, but it should not be so difficult now.

"There certainly are a few sponsors being talked about. Though nobody has jumped yet, we still have been given plenty of time to find one," explained Harrington.