Golf

2019 Open Championship to be held in Royal Portrush

The Claret Jug at Royal Portrush when the venue was confirmed to host the Open last June 

THE OPEN Championship is to return to Royal Portrush in 2019, the first time the course has hosted the event since 1951.

Representatives from the event organisers, Royal and Ancient (R&A), made the announcement at Royal Portush this morning, along with local golfer and 2011 Open champion Darren Clarke.

It was revealed that the golf major would return to the north last year, but the announcement of a date was delayed as work was carried out to improve the course.

A major renovation, costing several million pounds, began in July at Royal Portrush.

Construction is now underway on two new holes, while preparations are also being made to accommodate grandstands needed for such a large tournament.

Acting First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness have welcomed the announcement.

Martin McGuinness said that golf fans from around the world could expect a “warm welcome” on the north Antrim coast in 2019 and commended the north’s golfing heroes.

“This decision is testament to our three Major stars. The success of Clarke, McDowell and McIlroy provided massive momentum for us to have the Open Championship return. I thank them for their continued support both on and off the fairways,” he said.  

“I have no doubt the 2019 Open at Royal Portush, which will be broadcast to half a billion people worldwide, will be a stunning sporting success.”

The R&A also confirmed that Royal Portrush will host the Open on another two occasions over the next 40 years.

The Open will be the biggest sporting event ever to be staged in the north.

Speaking at the announcement, Arlene Foster said securing the event was a “magnificent achievement” that would provide a major boost to the economy.  

“It is a key part of Tourism NI’s events strategy and is crucial to consolidating our efforts to grow visitor numbers and visitor spend,” she said.

“The Open Championship is expected to attract 200,000 spectators over the competition days. With the estimated spend per golfer at £385 per day, or £2,500 per trip, hosting major golf events plays a key role in realising our ambitious plans to grow tourism in Northern Ireland to a £1 billion industry by 2020.”

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