Belfast Telegraph

Resort 'would boost bid for Open'

The luxury golf resort planned for the Causeway Coast will boost nearby Royal Portrush's chances of hosting the Open Championship, the club's captain has said.

Philip Tweedie said he does not see the proposed Bushmills Dunes development as competition for the historic championship links course, insisting they will complement each other.

On the back of the phenomenal success of Northern Ireland golfers Darren Clarke, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell on the world stage, Royal Portrush has been selected to stage the Irish Open golf tournament this summer - the first time it has gone north of the border in 60 years.

But there is a growing clamour for the famous seaside course to once again hold the Open Championship itself - the last occasion the Major tournament was staged in Northern Ireland was at Royal Portrush in 1951.

Golfing governing body the Royal and Ancient has pledged to examine the possibility of bringing the Open to Portrush but has voiced concerns about the surrounding infrastructure, in particular the dearth of hotel accommodation.

Royal Portrush captain Mr Tweedie said the development of a 120-bedroom hotel and 75 chalets at the Bushmills resort would undoubtedly strengthen the Open bid.

"It will help our case," he said.

"We have had the Royal and Ancient over to look at the road infrastructure, have been looking at hotels and looking at other private accommodation and thus far we have been able to accommodate what demand has come forward for the Irish Open.

"The Royal and Ancient I am quite sure are sitting watching to see how we perform at that event but another hotel, another 120 rooms plus the chalets, which will also provide accommodation should anything come in terms of the Open, can only be good."

Mr Tweedie said the new accommodation would also ensure golf tourists stayed in the area, rather than just playing Royal Portrush during the day and heading elsewhere in Ireland or Scotland.

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