NORTH-WEST golf will receive a significant boost this morning when Royal Portrush is named as the venue for this summer’s Irish Open Championship.
And the high profile event, to be played from Thurssday, June 28th to Sunday, July 1st, will take two weeks before the Open Championship.
It is also clear that the recent achievements of Northern Ireland professionals, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke played no small part in securing the Championship and with Padraig Harrington also expected to play, large attendances are guaranteed.
Add in the fact that a number of top American and Australian golfers may opt to play at Portrush in preparation for the Royal Lythm St. Anne’s event, will present a fabulous opportunity for the local golfing fraternity.
The European Golf Tour is expected to confirm the news in Portrush today (Friday), the links course actually staging the event one year earlier than had been expected.
In fact, the last time the north coast course staged the Irish Open was back in 1947, while the last time the event was played in Northern Ireland was in 1953 at Belvoir Park in South Belfast.
Northern Ireland’s profile in the golfing world has been hugely raised by recent major victories for Messrs. Clarke, McDowell and McIlroy and their support of Portrush to stage the Irish Open has been prominent.
Clarke’s emotional victory in the Open Championship at Sandwich in Kent last summer followed the successive US Open victories of McDowell and McIlroy and both Clarke and McDowell have homes in the Portrush area.