Niall Horan: I'm a proud feminist
Horan hails success of mixed golf event
Superstar Niall Horan has declared himself a "feminist".
The former One Direction star has also predicted more big golf competitions will have men and women playing together after the success of his tournament, the ISPS Handa World Invitational Men/Women, presented by Modest! Golf at Galgorm Castle Golf Club and Massereene Golf Club.
The tournament, which finished on Sunday, is unusual because men and women compete for equal prize money of $500,000.
In an exclusive chat at the Galgorm, the 25-year-old tells Sunday Life: "Yeah, I am a feminist. Rightly so. It's huge having equal prize money today. It's a must. I can't believe it's 2019 and we are still talking about it but we are.
"But I think this is the start of it. I really do think that. Everyone is saying 'grow the game'. This is the way to do it. Get young females into playing the game and just trying it out. They've got such a say on the world. I have a large female following and while I'm no superman, I will try and get young girls to play golf - then the whole game will grow and the sport will grow in general."
Niall couldn't keep the smile off his face, admitting he was "proud" of how far he and his pal Mark McDonnell have come in just three years since forming Modest! Golf Management.
Last month one of their players, Tyrell Hatton, managed to finish in the top 10 at The Open at Royal Portrush.
Please log in or register with belfasttelegraph.co.uk for free access to this article.
"Modest! was just an idea we were chatting about at a party a few years ago," he explains.
"And now we've got players in The Open. I can't believe I'm even saying that. Hopefully with how well they are doing, they can play in more majors and play in massive events with big names. It's unreal.
"It's amazing watching our stable of players grow. It's been mad to watch it unfold over the last few years and we've been working very hard with them and I think we are doing all right with them. I'm proud of everyone. It's been a mad few years and all of the hard work is starting to pay off now."
Niall, who spent the week at Royal Portrush last month watching his players as well as supporting pals Rory McIlroy and winner Shane Lowry, thinks having tournaments like The Open and the World Invitational in NI has only helped increase interest in the sport locally.
"You can definitely feel it after The Open, especially here in Northern Ireland," he said.
"We've had such success in global golf and with Shane winning The Open, I literally get goosebumps thinking about it. The interest is definitely growing.
"I can't believe we are here now with a tournament like this and some unbelievable players and some great wins under our belt. It's been an unbelievable week.
"I'm blown away by it. I can't believe it's happened, really. We are trying to create a legacy here. This is the first of its kind. Golf in Ireland has always been part of our culture. We want to make this something big here and make it big around the world too. Thanks to the people of Northern Ireland for having us."