Belfast Telegraph

Golf stars and and woman who helped secure Open for Portrush to be honoured

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

Northern Ireland's three top golfers will be honoured with the Freedom of the Borough from the Causeway Coast and Glens Council, as will the woman credited with bringing the Open to Royal Portrush.

It is hoped that Darren Clarke, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell will all attend the ceremony when a date is set.

They were among the elite in the sport to participate in the tournament last month - only the second time The Open has been held in Northern Ireland.

As a thank-you for the efforts of all who played a role in the tournament's success, DUP councillor Aaron Callan proposed the Freedom of the Borough be bestowed on the golf club's staff and volunteers.

Mr Callan said: "I wanted to recognise the success of the Open and thought it (the Freedom of the Borough) would be a good way of recognising the golfers and everyone at Royal Portrush.

"This way, Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Graham McDowell are recognised but also all the volunteers and staff of the club.

"One staff member, Wilma Erskine, widely accepted as the woman who was behind the Open coming to Royal Portrush in the first place and for the huge success of the competition, stands out for her work.

"Wilma is now due to retire from her position at the club so this will be a good way of thanking her for everything she has done over the years."

He added: "Royal Portrush Golf Club has contributed so much to the local economy and to boost tourism to the North Coast and that is something that will continue for many years to come. The next move now will be to contact the club and make arrangements so that the staff and volunteers are represented. Obviously the busy schedules of Rory, Darren and Graeme might mean not all three could attend but it would be wonderful if that was possible and, if not, even one or two of them."

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