Golf fans in the Ballymena and Antrim areas will be thrilled by this morning’s announcement that Royal Portrush will host the 2019 Open Championship
The world’s top golfers will show their skills at the world famous links course, less than an hour’s drive from this area.
This will mark a historic return to Northern Ireland for golf’s oldest and most international Championship after nearly 70 years.
The Open, which was played at Royal Portrush in 1951, when Englishman Max Faulkner lifted the famous Claret Jug, is expected to be the biggest sporting event ever held in Northern Ireland, generating more than £70 million in terms of economic impact and destination marketing benefit.
Northern Ireland will be at the centre of the global sporting spotlight from 18-21 July 2019 as The Open is staged outside of Scotland and England for only the second time in the Championship’s more than 150-year history with sports fans from throughout Ireland and around the world expected to descend upon the town of Portrush.
Peter Unsworth, the Chairman of The R&A’s Championship Committee, said, “We are very much looking forward to bringing The Open to Royal Portrush in 2019 and believe it will be a tremendous venue for the Championship. We know there is great anticipation throughout Ireland at the prospect of welcoming the world’s top golfers and it promises to be a hugely memorable week. We are delighted with the progress being made on the course preparations and they will undoubtedly enhance the challenge presented by these historic links.”
Acting First Minister Arlene Foster said, “I welcome today’s announcement that The Open Championship is to be held at Royal Portrush in 2019 and twice again in the future. Securing The Open Championship at Royal Portrush is a magnificent achievement. 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.”
The Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, said, “The potential economic return of £70 million makes The Open coming to Portrush in 2019 a success story not just for golf and golfing fans but our entire economy. I commend The R&A for their confidence and commitment to Portrush. For our part we stand ready to help ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place and ensure the focus remains on the golf course. 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.”
Darren Clarke, said, “This is going to be absolutely huge for Northern Ireland and, indeed, Ireland as a whole. To have the world’s biggest and best golf Championship played at such a fantastic venue as Royal Portrush, with all the passion that the Irish fans will bring to the event, is going to be amazing.”
Rory McIlroy, who lifted the Claret Jug at Royal Liverpool in 2014, added, “Royal Portrush is one of my favourite golf courses in the world. I think it will be a fantastic Open venue. They are going to add a couple of new holes to the golf course and I think that will be a great addition and will make the course even stronger. I’m really looking forward to it.”