London – The British Open will return to
Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland in 2019, golf’s governing body the R&A
announced on Tuesday.
It will be only the second time that golf’s
oldest major is played outside England and Scotland, after a previous
tournament staged at Portrush in 1951, which was won by England’s Max Faulkner.
“We are very much looking forward to
bringing The Open to Royal Portrush in 2019 and believe it will be a tremendous
venue for the Championship,” said Peter Unsworth, chairman of the
R&A’s championship committee, in a statement on the organisation’s website.
The move follows the successful hosting of
the 2012 Irish Open at Portrush and comes after lobbying from Northern Irish
major champions Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell for the Open to
be played there.
Former R&A chief executive Peter Dawson
had previously cited the record-breaking attendance at the 2012 Irish Open as a
“tipping point” in deliberations about whether to take the Open back
across the Irish Sea.
Last year, Portrush’s members voted overwhelmingly
in favour of the course changes required to host the Open, which will take
place from July 18-21.
“We know there is great anticipation
throughout Ireland at the prospect of welcoming the world’s top golfers and it
promises to be a hugely memorable week,” Unsworth added.
“We are delighted with the progress
being made on the course preparations and they will undoubtedly enhance the
challenge presented by these historic links.”
The 2015 Open, won by America’s Zach
Johnson, was played at St Andrews.
The 155-year-old tournament will visit
Royal Troon next year, Royal Birkdale in 2017 and Carnoustie in 2018 before
making its historic return to Northern Ireland the following year.
Until Tuesday’s announcement, the Open
rotation took the tournament to nine links, seaside courses – five in Scotland
and four in England with Portrush now becoming the 10th.