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Arlene Foster & Martin McGuinness Welcome Confirmation Of Open Championship At Portrush

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The R&A confirmed in a news conference attended by Open winner Darren Clarke and Ministers at Royal Portrush which last hosted the tournament in 1951.

Speaking at the announcement Acting First Minister Arlene Foster said: “I welcome today’s announcement that The Open Championship is to be held at Royal Portrush in 2019 and twice again in the future.

“Securing The Open Championship at Royal Portrush is a magnificent achievement. It is a key part of Tourism NI’s events strategy and is crucial to consolidating our efforts to grow visitor numbers and visitor spend.

“The Open Championship is expected to attract 200,000 spectators over the competition days. With the estimated spend per golfer at £385 per day, or £2,500 per trip, hosting major golf events plays a key role in realising our ambitious plans to grow tourism in Northern Ireland to a £1 billion industry by 2020.

“A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes to make today’s announcement possible and I thank everyone who has been involved in particular Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of the R&A and the members of Royal Portrush Golf Club who have made this announcement possible.

“I am confident that we will deliver a Championship to remember with a unique Northern Ireland flavour.”

The deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “The potential economic return of £70million makes the Open coming to Portrush in 2019 a success story not just for golf and golfing fans but our entire economy.

“In recent weeks the success of our football teams, and the excitement around the Ireland rugby team have reinforced the power of sport. It brings us together and generates a real feel good factor. A warm welcome awaits golf fans from around the globe who descend on the north Antrim coast in 2019 to watch the world’s golfing elite.

“This decision is testament to our 3 Major stars. The success of Clarke, McDowell and McIlroy provided massive momentum for us to have the Open Championship return. I thank them for their continued support both on and off the fairways.

“I commend the R&A for their confidence and commitment to Portrush. For our part we stand ready to help ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place and ensure the focus remains on the golf course. I have no doubt the 2019 Open at Royal Portush which will be broadcast to half a billion people worldwide will be a stunning sporting success.”

Confirmation of the year in which Royal Portrush would host the event had been subject to course improvements at Royal Portrush and the completion of works.

All planning approvals for course improvements were secured and work started in July 2015.

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