Royal Portrush to get freedom honour

Rory McIlroy taking part in last month's Open Championship
Rory McIlroy taking part in last month's Open Championship

The Causeway Coast and Glens Council is to award the Freedom of the Borough to Royal Portrush Golf Club.

The award is being made to recognise the success of the Open Championship at the historic club last month.

The proposal was passed during a special sitting of the council on Thursday.

Originally, DUP councillor Aaron Callan had planned to put forward a proposal to award the ‘Freedom’ honour to the famous Ulster golfing trio Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy.

But, since councillors also wanted to honour the volunteers and members at Royal Portrush who had helped make the first Open held outside Great Britain in half a century such a success, the Freedom award is now being made to the club itself.

“One of the things we talked about was recognising the members of the golf club who had played a part in making this a success as well,” Mr Callan told the News Letter.

“We thought it might be a better fit to award this to the club as a whole because all three players are honorary members of Royal Portrush so this is a way of recognising everyone involved in making this a success,” he continued.

“All of the parties and all of the councillors supported the motion on the night, so I was delighted to see that.”

The DUP councillor also told the News Letter that golf’s governing body, the R&A, has written to the council to outline its satisfaction with the Open Championship held on the north coast during July.

The R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said last month that the Northern Ireland club will remain on the Open rota for “years to come”.

Aaron Callan said: “I know the R&A have given an initial report to the council stating that they are delighted with how well the tournament went.

“This is a relationship that will now grow over time and Royal Portrush is now part of the Open Championship rota so we are looking forward to seeing it return.”