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Royal Portrush confirmed to host The 148th Open

Royal Portrush is to host The Open in 2019.

Royal Portrush is to host The Open in 2019.

Royal Portrush is to host The Open in 2019.

Royal Portrush is to host The Open in 2019.

The Open is to return to Northern Ireland in 2019 for the first time in over 70 years, with Royal Portrush set to host the prestigious golfing tournament.

Tourism officials welcomed the official announcement on October 20, with Tourism NI Chairman Terence Brannigan saying the tourism and hospitality sector would be “pulling out all the stops to stage the best ever welcome for an Open Championship.”

“The confirmation that The Open is to be staged at Portrush in July 2019, and twice more by 2040, will be greeted with huge excitement and pride by our local tourism industry,” he said. “The north coast will provide a dramatic and stunning backdrop to the event when it will be hosting an expected 200,000 visitors from all parts of Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland and overseas.”

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “The staging of golf’s oldest major tournament at Royal Portrush, one of the world’s top links courses, will present Tourism Ireland with an invaluable opportunity to showcase Northern Ireland to golfers and prospective visitors around the world. We will be pulling out all the stops – in Great Britain, the US and in all our important golf markets – to capitalise on the potential of this prestigious sporting event.”

The Open was last played at Royal Portrush in 1951, when Englishman Max Faulkner lifted the famous Claret Jug. It is expected to be the biggest sporting event ever held in Northern Ireland, say organiser R&A, potentially generating more than £70m in terms of economic impact and destination marketing benefit.

Northern Ireland will be at the centre of the global sporting spotlight from July 18-21, 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.

“This is going to be absolutely huge for Northern Ireland and, indeed, Ireland as a whole,” said Darren Clarke, 2011 Open Champion. “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.”

Acting First Minister the Rt. Hon. Arlene Foster MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA joined Clarke, Sir Richard McLaughlin, Captain of Royal Portrush Golf Club, Peter Unsworth, chairman of The R&A’s Championship Committee, and Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A, in making the announcement at Royal Portrush today.

“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,” said Unsworth. “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.”

Rory McIlroy, who lifted the Claret Jug at Royal Liverpool in 2014, said: “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.”

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