Slow Hands singer delighted to be out of lockdown and heading to Co Antrim for golf tournaments
Niall Horan is finally back home in Ireland after two years away.
The Slow Hands singer spent most of lockdown in London and hasn’t been back to Mullingar since 2019.
The 27-year-old will be in Northern Ireland this week for the ISPS HANDA World Invitational, presented by Modest! Golf Management, at the Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort and Massereene Golf Club.
He told Showbiz Life: “There’s been so many people who have been separated from family and friends over the past 18 months. I just can’t wait to get back and see everyone. It’s been way too long and I’ve really missed Ireland.
“I drink Guinness and I get stuff sent from home, but it’s just not the same.
“I just can’t wait to look out the plane window, see all that green and know I’m back.
“Obviously, the sport and entertainment industries have been hit so hard by the pandemic.
“To be at a sporting event in person with crowds at the Galgorm to watch some amazing golf and hopefully play some good golf feels like a dream come true.”
Fans of Niall will be able to get a glimpse of the keen golfer in action since he will be competing in the pro-am event.
He’s also persuaded some musical pals to swap their microphones for golf clubs, including Westlife’s SHANE FILAN and NICKY BYRNE and Cool FM DJ PETE SNODDEN.
Joining them will be former Northern Ireland footballers CHRIS BRUNT and KEITH GILLESPIE, alongside former Ireland and Ulster Rugby star RORY BEST.
Niall, who launched his golf management company with pal MARK MCDONNELL five years ago, has seen the firm go from strength to strength, signing up players such as CONNOR SYME, ANGEL YIN, RICHARD MANSELL and OLIVIA COWAN, all of whom will be competing at the event.
Modest! Golf Management has been involved with the local scene for four years.
The $3m invitational has two tournaments, with 144 men and 144 women competing on the same courses at the same time for two equal prize funds of $1.5million in the event, the first of its kind in the northern hemisphere.
It is sanctioned by the European Tour, the LPGA Tour and the Ladies’ European Tour and is one of the most innovative events around.
“I’m aware I have a large female following and I feel a responsibility to support women and try and make things a bit more equal,” Niall said.
“We are proud to have created this opportunity for women to play for the same money as their male counterparts.
“We look after female golfers and we want to inspire more girls to get into the game. This helps to level the playing field.”
The event will also recognise all the hard work and effort put in by key workers during the pandemic by offering a number of complimentary tickets.
The Galgorm donated £750,000 worth of experiences to frontline NHS workers last year.
These included overnight stays and spa treatments, all in recognition of all the hard work carried out by Northern Health and Social Care Trust staff.
“Key workers are the heroes of the pandemic,” Niall said.
“They more than deserve a day out to enjoy themselves.
“This is just a very small way of saying thanks for all that they’ve done.”
To join in the fun of pro-am day at the ISPS HANDA World Invitational, buy your tickets through the tournaments’ official ticketing platform Eventbrite.
Children’s tickets are £5 for the full day and adult tickets are £15.
The tournaments begin on Wednesday.