Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Tiger Woods hails Portrush as Open choice

Seal of approval: Tiger Woods

Superstar Tiger Woods was one of the first people to congratulate Royal Portrush on landing the 2019 Open Championship.

It means golf's most prestigious event is coming back to Northern Ireland for the first time since the famous north Antrim links course hosted it back in 1951.

Portrush officials had been hopeful of getting the nod from the Royal and Ancient since their successful staging of the Irish Open two years ago and, although there has been no official announcement as yet, it's understood the long wait for The Open to return to these shores is almost over.

Woods, the 14-times Major winner, joked that the Portrush decision would certainly make his old pal Darren Clarke the favourite for another Claret Jug.

"That's exciting news about Royal Portrush and I'm delighted for Darren, as well as Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell," said Woods (below).

"Unfortunately I never made it as far north as Portrush the last time I was in Northern Ireland so maybe we'll get there this time."

As reported in Belfast Telegraph Sport last month, the 17th and 18th holes may be moved to fulfil R&A requirements.

But that won't be an obstacle, and Portrush native McDowell couldn't contain hide his delight at the news.

"It was something I dreamed about as a kid but I never really thought it could really happen," he said.

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