Stunning: The links at Royal Portrush
Royal Portrush will host the 2019 British Open, the first time a Major will have been played on the island of Ireland in over 60 years.
The long-awaited news was confirmed today by the R & A, and it will be the first time the British Open will have been held outside England and Scotland since Royal Portrush hosted the event in 1951.
After a succesful hosting of the much smaller Irish Open in 2012 it was mooted that one of the biggest sporting events in the world would return to the County Antrim course.
In the summer of 2014 it was revealed that the tournament would return to the course but the year was under wraps until today, when the 2019 tournament was confirmed.
From July 18-21 2019 the eyes of the sporting world will be on Royal Portrush and with the continued upswing in Irish golf, there is a good chance an Irish golfer or two will be in contention.
The news was announced on The Open website this morning and they published quotes from a number of big names welcoming the news.
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.”
We can't wait either.