Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Biggest winner at Open will be image of Northern Ireland

PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 18: Darren Clarke of the Northern Ireland celebrates his birdie on the first green during the first round of the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 18, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 18: Darren Clarke of the Northern Ireland celebrates his birdie on the first green during the first round of the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 18, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Some say at the end of a rainbow, there's a pot of gold. In reality, it's Darren Clarke.
A scoreboard showing Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy +4 during day one of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 18, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Rory McIlroy made a quadruple bogey eight on his first hole.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy walks down the fairway from the first hole during the first round of the British Open golf Championships at Royal Portrush golf club in Northern Ireland on July 18, 2019. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USEPAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Who's proud of Our Wee Country right now?
Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke during day one of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 18, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Republic of Ireland's James Sugrue tees off the 1st during day one of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 18, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke celebrates his birdies on the 1st during day one of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 18, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 18: Darren Clarke of the Northern Ireland lines up a putt on the second green during the first round of the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 18, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 18: Amateur James Sugrue of Northern Ireland prepares to play a shot on the first hole during the first round of the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 18, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 18: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland plays the opening tee shot off the first tee during the first round of the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 18, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 18: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland plays the opening tee shot off the first tee during the first round of the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 18, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
A spectator tries to adjust their umbrella during preview day four of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club (Richard Sellers/PA)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 17: Tommy Fleetwood of England shields himself from the rain during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 17, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 17: Bryson DeChambeau of the United States plays a shot during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 17, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Spectators shelter from the rain during preview day four of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club (David Davies/PA)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 17: Xander Schauffele of the United States plays a shot during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 17, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 17: Phil Mickelson of the United States looks on during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 17, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 17: Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand looks on during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 17, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy practices during the 148th Open golf Championship at Royal Portrush golf club in Northern Ireland on July 16, 2019. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USEGLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 16: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 16, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy walks through the walkway during preview day three of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday July 16, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy tees off the 1st during preview day three of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday July 16, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 16: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and Thomas Bjorn of Denmark walk during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 16, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 16: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland looks on during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 16, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Penny for your thoughts, Rory?
Tiger Woods on the 18th green during preview day one of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday July 14, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy on the practice ground during preview day three of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday July 16, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
USA's Brooks Koepka (right) with caddy Ricky Elliott during preview day three of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday July 16, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Richard Sellers/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 15: Brooks Koepka of the United States and caddie Ricky Elliott speak during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 15, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Portrush-born caddie Ricky Elliott is showing his man Brooks Koepka round his home town this week.
Portrush-born caddie Ricky Elliott is showing his man Brooks Koepka round his home town this week.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy on the practice ground during preview day three of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday July 16, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy during preview day three of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday July 16, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
USA's Tiger Woods during preview day three of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday July 16, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Richard Sellers/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
USA's Tiger Woods on the 17th during preview day three of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday July 16, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Richard Sellers/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell walks along the fairway at the first hole during a practice session at The 148th Open golf Championship at Royal Portrush golf club in Northern Ireland on July 16, 2019. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USEPAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Spain's Jon Rahm (L) and Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell walk along the fairway at the first hole during a practice session at The 148th Open golf Championship at Royal Portrush golf club in Northern Ireland on July 16, 2019. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USEPAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell tees off from the first hole during a practice session at The 148th Open golf Championship at Royal Portrush golf club in Northern Ireland on July 16, 2019. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USEPAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 15: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland signs autographs during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 15, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 15: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland signs autographs during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 15, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
A view of USA's Tiger Woods club bag during preview day three of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday July 16, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Richard Sellers/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
USA's Tiger Woods on the 16th green during preview day three of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday July 16, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Richard Sellers/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 15: Corey Conners of Canada looks on during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 15, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 15: Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of the R&A, holds the the Claret Jug prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 15, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 15: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland looks on during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 15, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 15: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland looks on during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 15, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Tiger Woods tees off the 2nd during preview day two of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club.
Tiger Woods tees off on the 6th during preview day two of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday July 15, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Tiger Woods on the 18th green during preview day one of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday July 14, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Tiger Woods on the 8th Green during preview day one of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday July 14, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
US golfer Tiger Woods plays onto the 18th green during a practice session at The 148th Open golf Championship at Royal Portrush golf club in Northern Ireland on July 15, 2019. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USEANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images
US golfer Tiger Woods tess off on the 17th green during a practice session at The 148th Open golf Championship at Royal Portrush golf club in Northern Ireland on July 15, 2019. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USEANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images
US golfer Tiger Woods practices at The 148th Open golf Championship at Royal Portrush golf club in Northern Ireland on July 15, 2019. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USEANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images
Tiger Woods putts on the 5th during preview day two of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday July 15, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
US golfer Tiger Woods tees off from the 16th hole during a practice session at The 148th Open golf Championship at Royal Portrush golf club in Northern Ireland on July 15, 2019. (Photo by Andy Buchanan / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USEANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images
Italy's Francesco Molinari on the 2nd during preview day three of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday July 16, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Crowds take photos of Tiger Woods on the 9th Tee during preview day one of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday July 14, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
England's Tommy Fleetwood during a press conference during preview day two of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday July 15, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
England's Tommy Fleetwood during a press conference during preview day two of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday July 15, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke during a press conference during preview day two of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday July 15, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke during a press conference during preview day two of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday July 15, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Italy's Francesco Molinari during the press conference on preview day two of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday July 15, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Richard Sellers/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Tiger Woods on the 17th tee during preview day two of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday July 15, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Spain's Sergio Garcia signs autographs during day two of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 19, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Richard Sellers/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke during a press conference during preview day two of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday July 15, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 15: Jim Furyk of the United States plays a shot during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 15, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 15: Tommy Fleetwood of England looks on during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 15, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 15: Tiger Woods of the United States plays a shot during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 15, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 15: Tommy Fleetwood of England looks on during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 15, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 15: Tony Finau of the United States looks on during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 15, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 15: Darren Clarke of the Northern Ireland speaks to the media during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 15, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 15: Jordan Spieth of the United States "shotguns" a can of water as caddie Michael Greller looks on during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 15, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
A general view of 18th Green in front of the grandstand and the town of Portrush during preview day one of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday July 14, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Rickie Fowler on the 18th green during preview day one of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday July 14, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Jason Day signs autographs during preview day one of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday July 14, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Louis Oosthuizen on the 18th green during preview day one of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday July 14, 2019. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Rickie Fowler (left) and Tiger Woods on the 1st green during preview day two of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club.
Spectators watch play during a practice session at The 148th Open golf Championship at Royal Portrush golf club in Northern Ireland on July 14, 2019. (Photo by Andy Buchanan / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USEANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images
England's Tommy Fleetwood checks his course notes during a practice session at The 148th Open golf Championship at Royal Portrush golf club in Northern Ireland on July 14, 2019. (Photo by Andy Buchanan / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USEANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images
England's Tommy Fleetwood watches his shot during a practice session at The 148th Open golf Championship at Royal Portrush golf club in Northern Ireland on July 14, 2019. (Photo by Andy Buchanan / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USEANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images
A view looking out over the course in the afternoon sunshine during a practice session at The 148th Open golf Championship at Royal Portrush golf club in Northern Ireland on July 14, 2019. (Photo by Andy Buchanan / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USEANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images

Editor's Viewpoint

Today, potentially the greatest marketing boost Northern Ireland has ever achieved takes place on the Royal Portrush golf course, when the world's elite players tee off in pursuit of the most historic prize in the sport, the Open championship.

Even at its original projection of £80m - although a new report says the benefit could be closer to £120m - the economic windfall dwarfs any previous event.

With 237,750 spectators expected at the course over the four days of the tournament - just below the all-time attendance record - there is an immediate boost to the local economy through expenditure in restaurants, B&Bs, hotels, transport and merchandising.

But it is the image of Northern Ireland which will be screened to 85 million people worldwide that could prove to be the really lucrative legacy.

This is an unprecedented opportunity to market not just Portrush but the entire province to a global audience. The golf is taking place on a breathtaking course, with views that many other major venues would kill for.

But to maximise the potential of this week requires a cohesive effort by all the stakeholders in making Northern Ireland a must-visit destination. And that begins with a functioning devolved administration and includes other bodies such as Tourism Ireland, local authorities and the hospitality sector.

It should be remembered that former First and Deputy First Minister Peter Robinson, the late Martin McGuinness and the then Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment Arlene Foster lent their not inconsiderable influence to the initial drive to bring the Open back to Portrush after an absence of 68 years.

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But there was also a huge input from the indefatigable Wilma Erskine, the club's secretary, who persuaded the European Tour, IMG and the Royal & Ancient to bring the Irish Open to the north west as a sign that the club could host a prestigious tournament. It sold out - the first regular European Tour event to do so - and that was a powerful lever in pressing for the Open itself to be given to Portrush.

Anyone who has visited the town and course in recent days cannot help but be impressed by the scale of the effort in hosting the tournament. It is quite literally the only show in town and much further afield.

Given the length of time since the Open was last staged at Portrush, this event has an added novelty value.

Of course, fans will always visit or tune in to the tournament, no matter where it is staged, but there is bound to be additional interest in a place less well-known on a global stage.

It is that level of interest which Northern Ireland must tap into in the years ahead, starting when the last ball is struck on Sunday evening.

The province has many very fine golf courses and, naturally, there will be huge demand to play the Royal Portrush links where Tiger, Rory and all the other greats will tread over these four days.

The course has been reconstructed in part and mothballed to ensure it is in pristine condition for the moment when former Open winner, Darren Clarke, strikes the first shot in the tournament this morning. That makes its allure to the world's amateur players all the more intense.

And whoever lifts the old Claret Jug on Sunday evening, the real winner will be Royal Portrush Golf Club. It has already received the accolade it was hoping for above all when R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said he expects the venue to remain on the Open rota for many years to come.

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