Editor's Viewpoint: Golfing success a triumph for us all
The Irish Open at Royal Portrush has been a first-class example of the ability of Northern Ireland people to get things right, though the same cannot be said of the Ulster Bank which continues to make an incredible mess of its service to customers.
However, the good news from Portrush will give all of us a reason to be more cheerful in these days of gloom and doom.
The fact that the Irish Open came to Northern Ireland at all was a triumph for those who had the courage to suggest such an initiative, and their ability to make sure that it would be a winner.
Everything about this event was admirably carried out. The organisation was excellent, with the support of so many well-trained volunteers, and the professional administrators.
The top golfers also gave it their full support and many of the leading names, including the Major champions from this island, added to the prestige this event already carries on the European Tour.
The sports writers and golfing experts from the major national and international publications were also fulsome in their praise for the excellence of the Royal Portrush course itself.
The Stormont administration, as well as the tourist authorities and all those agencies promoting this island as a visitor destination, played an important part as well.
Most of all, however, it was the golfing public who gave this Irish Open their full backing, and sell-out crowds on all four days underlined the enthusiasm of our sports-lovers for a top event of this kind.
All of this adds greatly to the real claim by Royal Portrush to stage The Open itself within the next few years, a prospect which seemed virtually impossible in the Northern Ireland of not so long ago. An Irish winner to the Irish Open in Portrush would have been the icing on the cake, but no-one will grudge Welshman Jamie Donaldson his first European title at the 255th attempt. His victory was well-deserved, but the real winners were Royal Portrush, and all the people of Northern Ireland.