Irish Open 2015 at Royal County Down sold out
'We must pay tribute to Rory McIlroy, a remarkable young man whose drive and support, in the midst of an incredibly busy schedule, has amazed us all'
The Irish Open at Royal County Down has now completely sold out.
Golf fans have been urged not to turn up at the gate without a ticket now that this year’s tournament has replicated the success of 2012, when Royal Portrush became the first European Tour event to sell out in advance.
One big difference this year, however, is the number of spectators that the event has attracted from outside Northern Ireland.
Whilst more than 90 per cent of spectators at Royal Portrush were residents of Northern Ireland, one third of ticket sales for this year’s Irish Open have been to ‘out of state’ visitors.
A breakdown of sales figures has revealed that 28 per cent of spectators will make the trip north from the Republic of Ireland, with 4 per cent from GB and 1 per cent from the rest of the world, leaving 67 per cent of spectators from Northern Ireland.
News that the event, which tees off on Thursday morning, has sold out will not come as a surprise to many, with world number one Rory McIlroy having used his own personal influence to attract a star-studded international field that includes many of the world’s best golfers.
"The success of Royal Portrush in 2012 was always going to be a hard act to follow but we are delighted to report that this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, hosted by the Rory Foundation, has now completely sold out," said Antonia Beggs, the European Tour’s Championship Director for the Irish Open.
Irish Open 2015: Live updates, tee-off times, photos, weather and TV schedule as golfing stars flock to Royal County Down
Ms Beggs added: "This year’s event has surpassed all of our initial expectations and much of it is down to the support of one man in particular… and that is the World number one Rory McIlroy. The star-studded field that Rory has managed to attract to Royal County Down and the personal drive and commitment that he has displayed to make this tournament the best that it can be has really been beyond amazing.
"We cannot stress enough that, whilst we welcome visitors to Newcastle to enjoy the festivities that have been put in place around the event, it is very important that people don’t turn up at the gate without a ticket, as they won’t get in and they will only cause unnecessary delay and congestion at the entrance point."
Kathryn Thomson, Chief Operating Officer for Tourism Northern Ireland, welcomed the news that ticket sales from outside of Northern Ireland have increased significantly.
"We are delighted that once again, the Irish Open has been a complete sell-out in Northern Ireland. From the outset, we have promoted this year's event as ‘The Unmissable Irish Open’ and golf fans from all over Ireland and further afield have obviously agreed with us.
"What is particularly pleasing is that 33 per cent of ticket sales for this year’s tournament have been to out of state visitors, which has surpassed all of our initial targets and which will further boost the economic impact of the event in Northern Ireland, and particularly in the County Down area."
Ms Thomson added: "Not only that, the profile of Northern Ireland as a premium golfing and tourism destination has once again been raised on a local, national and international level."
Dubai Duty Free’s Executive Vice Chairman Colm McLoughlin said: "This year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is set to be one of the best, if not the best, ever and we are delighted to be the title sponsor.
"It’s been a pleasure to work alongside the European Tour and the Rory Foundation to help make this event as good as it can possibly be, and the public have responded accordingly with another sell-out event in Northern Ireland. And what a spectacle lies ahead for all those lucky enough to get their hands on a ticket. It really promises to be an unforgettable tournament.
"Finally, we must pay tribute to Rory McIlroy, a remarkable young man whose drive and support, in the midst of an incredibly busy schedule, has amazed us all. It’s not hard to see why Rory has reached the pinnacle of his sport when you get a chance to witness him in action first hand," added Mr McLoughlin.