16/06/2014

Open Returns To NI

The Open golf competition is to return to Northern Ireland in 2019, it has been confirmed.

The Royal Portrush Golf Club is to host the sport's oldest competiton for the first time since it was last hosted at the venue in 1951.

First Minister Peter Robinson said: "This is wonderful news, not only for Royal Portrush Golf Club, but for the whole of Northern Ireland, with an estimated combined tourism promotion and economic return of £70m.

"The decision to bring The Open back to Northern Ireland is a tremendous vote of confidence in the game here and follows the huge success of the Irish Open in 2012, the first in European Tour history to sell out."
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Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: "I welcome the official confirmation today by the R&A that the Open will return to Royal Portrush. This announcement will create much anticipation and excitement as the thought of our local golfers challenging for the Claret Jug on home soil is set to become a reality.

"The success of our local golfers has played a significant role in putting us on the international golfing map as an established destination and hosting The Open will add to this. We have proven we have got what it takes when it comes to hosting major events. From the record breaking Irish Open in 2012 to this year’s Giro d’Italia Big Start, acknowledged by the organisers as the best yet, our track record speaks for itself."

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster added: "Over 4,000 hours of television and radio coverage were broadcast from last year’s event at Muirfield. The Open’s arrival on the north coast will tell the world what we already know – that not only is Northern Ireland home to three Major winning golfers, it is home to some of the best courses on the planet. A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes to make today’s announcement possible and I want to thank everyone who has been involved."

(IT)

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