Royal Portrush lands 2019 Open

The R&A announced that Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland will host the 2019 Open Championship, only the second time golf’s oldest championship will be played outside England and Scotland.

Royal Portrush hosted the open in 1951, when Max Faulkner of England claimed his only major title.

“Royal Portrush is one of my favorite golf courses in the world,” said four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, who grew up in Holywood, Northern Ireland. “I think it will be a fantastic Open venue.

“They are going to add a couple of new holes to the golf course and I think that will be a great addition and will make the course even stronger. I’m really looking forward to it.”

The R&A took notice when the 2012 Irish Open drew massive crowds at Royal Portrush, and homegrown champions McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell have lobbied for the Open to return to Portrush.

Club members at Royal Portrush voted overwhelmingly last year in favor of course changes necessary to attract the Open, which will be played July 18-21, 2019.

“This is going to be absolutely huge for Northern Ireland and, indeed, Ireland as a whole,” said Clarke, the 2016 European Ryder Cup captain and 2011 Open champion, who lives in Portrush.

“To have the world’s biggest and best golf championship played at such a fantastic venue as Royal Portrush, with all the passion that the Irish fans will bring to the event, is going to be amazing.”

The 148th Open Championship is expected to be the biggest sporting event ever held in Northern Ireland and could generate up to £70million for the local economy.

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