Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Jeremy Wright MP visited Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland today [March 21] to learn more about the preparations being made for staging The 148th Open the club this summer.
The global sporting spotlight will fall upon on the famous Dunluce links from July 18-21, when golf’s original championship returns to Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951.
Tens of thousands of fans will flock to the Antrim coast to watch Francesco Molinari defend the iconic Claret Jug against the world’s greatest golfers, including Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood and Dustin Johnson.
Independent research forecasts an £80 million economic benefit for Northern Ireland from hosting The Open, during which television pictures of the Antrim Coast and the Giant’s Causeway will be beamed to over 600 million households in over 190 countries worldwide.
Investment in the regeneration of Portrush ahead of The Open has reached more than £17 million, and the Northern Ireland Executive-endorsed Portrush Regeneration Programme involves major capital works to help to enhance and revitalise the town in the run-up to and beyond the Open.
“In four months’ time the eyes of the sporting world will be on Northern Ireland for the most prestigious Championship in golf,” said Mr Wright. “The Championship is a wonderful opportunity to promote the best of Northern Ireland to the world, both as a host of major sporting events and as a leading visitor destination. There is great excitement among fans for The Open’s long-awaited return here. The team at Royal Portrush have done incredible work preparing the course and combined with the investment in the town will maximise the sporting and economic benefits to the area.”
Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director – Championships at The R&A, said, “The Open is going to be the biggest ever sporting event to be held on the island of Ireland and we are very much looking forward to staging an outstanding Championship. The local agencies in Northern Ireland have provided tremendous support and guidance throughout our preparations for Royal Portrush and we will continue work with them to deliver a successful Championship that will generate significant economic benefits for Northern Ireland.”