The Open Championship will bring a massive £70 million economic boost for Portrush and Northern Ireland.
The startling figure was revealed as First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness yesterday announced that Royal Portrush Golf Club has been invited to join the rota to host one of golf’s majors.
Speaking after meeting with the R&A at Royal Portrush Golf Club, the First Minister Peter Robinson said: “This is wonderful news, not only for Royal Portrush Golf Club, but for the whole of Northern Ireland, with an estimated combined tourism promotion and economic return of £70million.”
“The decision to bring The Open back to Northern Ireland is a tremendous vote of confidence in the game here and follows the huge success of the Irish Open in 2012, the first in European Tour history to sell out.
“Today’s announcement recognises that Northern Ireland not only has some of the world’s greatest golfers, but some of the world’s greatest golf courses.”
Golf’s oldest and most international Major was last played at Royal Portrush in 1951.
The deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: ““Hosting The Open will leave a lasting imprint on Royal Portrush and I wish everyone involved in the planning and preparation every success and assure them of the full support of the Executive.”
Joining other established locations like St. Andrews, Royal Birkdale and Turnberry on The Open rota means that Northern Ireland’s golfing product will be showcased to a worldwide audience.
Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster added: “Over 4,000 hours of television and radio coverage were broadcast from last year’s event at Muirfield. The Open’s arrival on the north coast will tell the world what we already know – that not only is Northern Ireland home to three Major winning golfers, it is home to some of the best courses on the planet. A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes to make today’s announcement possible and I want to thank everyone who has been involved.
“We know there is work to be done ahead of The Open but we will pull out all the stops to ensure that – just as we did with the Irish Open - Northern Ireland will stage a world class event that will be long remembered by players and spectators alike.”