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Dublin: 6°C Saturday 28 November 2020

Royal Portrush confirmed as Open Championship host

Decision to bring one of golf’s four Majors to Antrim is “a ringing endorsement of Northern Ireland,” Peter Robinson says.

Over 130,000 attended when Portrush hosted the Irish Open in 2012.
Over 130,000 attended when Portrush hosted the Irish Open in 2012.
Image: ©Russell Pritchard/Presseye

ROYAL PORTRUSH GOLF Club in County Antrim has been invited to host The Open Championship, one of golf’s four showpiece Majors.

The prestigious tournament is expected to return to Northern Ireland in 2019, although that date is still to be confirmed.

Portrush hosted the Open in 1951, which remains the only time in the tournament’s history that it was played outside of England and Scotland.

Today’s announcement was welcomed as “a ringing endorsement of Northern Ireland” by First Minister Peter Robinson while deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the event would leave “a lasting imprint on Royal Portrush.”

It is expected to be largest sporting event ever held in Northern Ireland, golf body The R&A said in a statement.

Royal Portrush has been invited to stage The Open by The R&A and the County Antrim club’s members will now be asked to ratify the proposal to enable preparations to begin for what is expected to be the largest sporting event ever to be held in Northern Ireland.

Portrush — the home course of former US Open champion Graeme McDowell — staged the 2012 Irish Open in what was widely regarded as a test run to see if its infrastructure and facilities could handle The Open.

The tournament was the first sell-out in European Tour history with over 130,000 spectators attending, and was praised as a resounding success.

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Niall Kelly

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