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Open’s 2025 Portrush return ‘proof’ Northern Ireland a ‘global golfing destination’

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Shane Lowry won The Open Championship at Portrush in 2019.

Shane Lowry won The Open Championship at Portrush in 2019.

Shane Lowry won The Open Championship at Portrush in 2019.

Northern Ireland politicians have hailed The Open’s return to Northern Ireland as “making the most of its golfing assets”.

The competition, the most prestigious in the golfing calendar returns to Portrush for 2025.

Royal Portrush will host the 153rd Open Championship from 13 to July 20.

Mayor Councillor Richard Holmes of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council said memories of The Open’s last visit will be etched in the memories of all those who took part in it or attended the course. 

"So I am delighted to learn that we will again be hosting and enabling the largest sporting event on the island of Ireland,” he said.

"Based upon the way the whole of Northern Ireland embraced The 148th Open, I have no doubt that in collaboration with The R&A, Royal Portrush Golf Club and the other delivery partners, we will honour this incredible event and build upon the achievements of 2019.”

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It will be the third time the venue has hosted the spectacle after its return in 2019 after a 68-year absence when it first held the competition in 1951.

Its long-awaited return attracted 237,750 spectators, setting a new attendance record for a championship held outside St Andrews.

Shane Lowry won on that occasion, beating Tommy Fleetwood by six shots.

St Andrews will stage the 150th Open in 2022, followed by Royal Liverpool and Royal Troon in 2023 and 2024 respectively.

Those behind the championship have hailed its “triumphant” return saying it marks an exciting new chapter in the history of golf’s original championship and provides another outstanding showcase for golf in Northern Ireland.

First Minister Paul Givan, Junior Minister Declan Kearney and Economy Minister Gordon Lyons joined Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A, and Dr Ian Kerr, Captain of Royal Portrush Golf Club for a formal announcement at the renowned links on the Antrim coast on Wednesday.

Mr Slumbers said: “There will be huge excitement among golf fans around the world to see the best men’s players facing the challenge of this magnificent links once again.

“The Open in 2019 was a massive success and showed just how much collective enthusiasm, passion and commitment there is to make Royal Portrush one of the leading venues for the Championship and to build a distinctive golf tourism brand for Northern Ireland.”

The First Minister said it had been a key aim of the Executive to bring The Open back to Northern Ireland quickly.

He  said he was confident it will provide a platform on which to build a global golfing destination brand for Portrush and Northern Ireland matching the likes of St Andrews. 

He also said it was an an opportunity to stimulate the economy and help recovery after the pandemic.

Attending the event on behalf of deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill, Junior Minister Declan Kearney also welcomed its return.

He added: “We are an island with a wonderful golf product and in a normal year we welcome hundreds of thousands of golf visitors. 2019 was an exceptional year for golf here when we staged The 148th Open at Royal Portrush.

"Following a tumultuous period that has greatly affected travel, tourism and events I now look to the future with greater optimism as well as look forward to welcoming our international visitors back to the north coast to explore the very best of what we have to offer.”

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons believes that as the home of some of the world's best golfers and the location for some of the finest golf courses that can be found anywhere in the world, the country should “make the most of its golfing assets and achieve strong economic benefits” from them. 

Meanwhile, Dr Ian Kerr, Captain of Royal Portrush, expressed his delight adding that it is recognition of the “excellent work” and “special atmosphere” created in 2019. 

The 2019 Open generated more than £100m for the local economy.

An independent report produced by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University found that The 148th Open delivered a direct economic impact of £45 million to the Northern Irish economy.

An additional £37.3m of Advertising Equivalent Value (AEV) was generated by global television coverage and Tourism Northern Ireland assessed £23.7m AEV in other media coverage.

To bring the event back so soon to Northern Ireland shows that the country is capable of hosting huge sporting events.


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