Belfast Telegraph

Portrush to host Open golf championship in 2019

By Adrian Rutherford

One of the biggest events in golf is heading back to Northern Ireland for the first time in more than half-a-century.

The 2019 Open Championship is set to be held at Royal Portrush, with an official announcement expected next week.

The decision by the Royal and Ancient – golf's governing body – follows Portrush's successful staging of the Irish Open in 2012.

Northern Ireland golfer Darren Clarke, who won the Open in 2011, said he was delighted his adopted club will be staging the tournament.

"It is wonderful for the area, for Northern Ireland and the whole of Ireland – one of the biggest sporting events in the world is coming here," he told the BBC.

"It's just massive, with pictures of Royal Portrush being beamed around the world to people who haven't seen how beautiful it is."

Two-time Major winner Rory McIlroy also welcomed the news.

He said to win the Open at Portrush would be the pinnacle of his career.

"Irish golf has been on a great run and the ultimate is getting a Major back here," he said.

"It's going to be incredible and I'm already looking forward to it.

"Everyone says winning the Open at St Andrews is a golfer's dream, but to win the event at home would probably be even bigger for me."

US star Tiger Woods said it will be "incredible" to play at Royal Portrush.

Golf's oldest Major has not been held in Northern Ireland since 1951, and Clarke, McIlroy and Graeme McDowell had all called for its return.

Discussions between Royal Portrush and the Executive have already taken place ahead of next week's anticipated announcement.

The Open would be one of the biggest sporting events ever to come to Northern Ireland, drawing tens of thousands of visitors.

Further Reading

The Open: Portrush's date with destiny

Rory McIlroy takes Jack Nicklaus' advice about how to win Majors

Tiger Woods hails Portrush as Open choice 

US Open 2014: hole-by-hole guide to Pinehurst's No. 2 

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