Golfing Greats Honoured In Digital Tribute

With The 148th Open at Royal Portrush set to shine a global spotlight on Northern Ireland like never before, a tribute to four of the region's global golfing legends has been unveiled.

In a specially commissioned visual by Tourism NI, the iconic cliffs of Fair Head in County Antrim have been digitally transformed into an eye-catching sculpture featuring the images of local golfing greats, past and present.

Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke, who will all compete in the tournament, feature in the design, alongside former Open Champion and Portrush man Fred Daly.

Engaging the talents of Hollywood digital CGI artist Mike Campau, the tongue-in-cheek stunt has been designed to reflect how Northern Ireland is truly 'Made for Golf', illustrated not only by sporting talents but also in the landscapes and rugged coast.

The timing of the tribute could not be more fitting as Northern Ireland golfers celebrate their recent triumphs on the course, with Rory McIlroy winning the Canadian Open by seven shots to secure his 16th PGA Tour title and fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell finishing tied eighth on 10 under.

Tourism NI recently marked the last official stop of a 500-mile community engagement campaign 'The Epic Journey to The 148th Open', and with just a month to go, Open fever is starting to take a grip of the nation as the spotlight falls on Portrush.
News Image
Tourism NI Marketing Director Naomi Waite said: "With 'Open fever' beginning to take a hold, we wanted to honour the global golfing heroes who collectively have played a key role in bringing The 148th Open to Northern Ireland and, through their talent, have made Northern Ireland a growing international golf destination. It is just one of many activities we have planned to celebrate the enormous pride that the people of Northern Ireland have in the achievements of our golfing greats.

"While Northern Ireland might one day boast its own 'Mount Rushmore' for golf, we can reassure everyone that this stunt is digital theatre and something we hope will raise a smile ahead of July."

Robin Daly, son of the late Fred Daly, said: "Our family are extremely honoured that my father is being remembered in this way. We are really looking forward to the return of The Open to our shores for the first time in nearly 70 years and this sculpture is a wonderful tribute to the talents of these local sportspeople who have earned their place in the history book of golf."

McIlroy and McDowell will tee up at Royal Portrush alongside fellow local and former Open Champion, Darren Clarke in front of a passionate home crowd when one of the world's greatest sporting spectacles returns to the famous Dunluce links for the first time in nearly 70 years.

The 148th Open at Royal Portrush will take place from the 15-21 July. It is set to attract 215,000 spectators, with a team of 6,000 staff and 350 volunteers warmly welcoming visitors. Over 600 million viewers from across the world are also expected to tune into the action.

Unprecedented demand from fans has led to record-breaking ticket sales and the event will be a sell-out on Championship Days for the first time.

Rory McIlroy commented: "The Open returning to Portrush is massive for Northern Ireland - everyone is so excited and is getting behind it. I never thought I would have the opportunity to play in a major championship at home and I'm really looking forward to it."

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

21 January 2016
Next Round Of College Open Days Announced
The Employment and Learning Minister, Stephen Farry, has launched the next round of college open days for prospective students.
18 July 2011
Darren Clarke Swings Open Victory
NI golfer, Darren Clarke has won his first major title with a three-shot victory at Royal St George's and became just the second Northern Ireland player to win the Open - after Fred Daly in 1947. It follows the successive US Open wins of Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell over the last year and marks NI's third major championship accolade.
16 June 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.
17 November 2014
Thousands Attend European Heritage Open Days
A record number of people have attended European Heritage Open Days throughout Northern Ireland this year, Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has announced. In September of this year, he said 75,610 people took part in the celebration of European-built heritage, an increase of 11% from 2013.
12 April 2012
Giant's Causeway Centre 'On Track'
Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has visited the construction site of the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre and said that the project is on track to open this summer. The new Centre, located at the Giant’s Causeway World Heritage Site is an integral part of the Causeway Coast and Glens Signature Project.