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It’s sign of Portrush's pride in US Open champ McDowell

By Maureen Coleman

It began life as a mock-up to pay tribute to Ulster golfing hero Graeme McDowell.

But a Photoshopped sign reading ‘Welcome to Portrush, Home of US Open Champion Golfer Graeme McDowell’ could soon become a reality, thanks to Radio Ulster DJ Alan Simpson.

Alan, a friend of the golfer, used the computer magic to re-invent the town’s tourism sign.

Then he posted it on Facebook to see the response — and suddenly it took on a life of its own.

Alan said: “I was watching the telly on Sunday night and Monday morning and was just so incredibly proud of Graeme, so I decided to do something as a wee tribute to him.

“Myself and a friend mocked up a photograph of the Welcome to Portrush sign on the way into the town to include the words Home of US Open Champion Golfer Graeme McDowell.

“We put it on Facebook for a laugh and people started posting, saying we should push Coleraine Council to do something about it.

“But I never actually thought anything would come off it.” The photograph was used on a television news report the following evening and people around the Portrush area even started to inquire about the location of the sign.” The DJ added: “Next thing the local MLA David McClarty rang up to say he thought it was a great idea and then Coleraine Borough Council got on the ball.

“Even Jimmy Nesbitt is supporting it.

“So it looks like our wee sign could become the real deal.”

Paul Gallagher, of Coleraine Borough Council’s tourism events team, said: “The council is very proud of Graeme and is planning to do something to mark the occasion, so this sign could be just what we’re looking for.

“It will be decided at a meeting of senior management on Monday but it’s very likely that it could go ahead.

“The council is very aware of the public’s support for Alan’s mock-up sign.

“What started out as a joke could become a reality for Portrush.”

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