Royal Portrush - What to expect from The 148th Open
Northern Ireland has waited – and waited – and that patience will soon, at long last, be rewarded.
Golf’s oldest major has wowed fans across England and Scotland since 1860 but just once, in 1951, has The Open been played outside Great Britain, at the prestigious Royal Portrush in County Antrim.
It’s has been some wait – just over 68 years, in fact – but in 2019, The 148th Open will take place on the celebrated Dunluce Links.
If you wish to purchase tickets for The 148th Open at Royal Portrush 2019, you have until midnight on 31 July to join The One Club and access the best value priority tickets before general sale. Go to TheOpen.com/PortrushTickets today.
Northern Ireland will be thrust firmly in the global sporting spotlight as the world’s best players, with Francesco Molinari as Defending Champion, compete for arguably the biggest prize in golf.
Faulkner’s kaleidoscope success
When The 148th Open tees off – just the second time the Championship has been held outside of Scotland and England – it will be a full 24,849 days after Max Faulkner lifted the famous Claret Jug in July 1951.
Back then, a field of 98 players competed for a grand prize of £300, with the overall prize pot having been increased to £1,700 from £1,500 the year before.
During a testing, wet weekend in County Antrim, home favourite Fred Daly finished fourth as Englishman Faulkner, famed for his flamboyantly-toned clothing, passed with flying colours, claiming a two-stroke triumph.
Return of Rory
Four-time major winner and former world number one Rory McIlroy got his hands on the coveted Claret Jug in 2014 at Royal Liverpool but there’s no doubting that Royal Portrush holds a special place in his heart.
In 2005, at the age of 16, he the Northern Irishman carded an 11-under-par 61 to set a new course record – how he must be waiting to return to those hallowed links in 2019.
“Royal Portrush is one of my favourite golf courses in the world – I think it will be a fantastic Open venue,” said McIlroy.
“The 2019 Open is something that’s been on my radar for a long time.
“I never thought I’d be able to play an Open at home. I’m going to be very proud to showcase where I’m from and to play in front of all the people who have supported me throughout my career. It is going to be really cool.
“It would have been nice to go in there with a Claret Jug but I'm excited to play an Open at Portrush. That will be unbelievable.”
As Royal Portrush was announced as the venue for The 148th Open back in 2015, plans to revamp the Dunluce links were put firmly into motion.
When July 2019 rolls around, competitors will tackle two new holes that have been fashioned from the dunes of the Valley links – the new par-five seventh and par-four eighth will replace the old 17th and 18th.
Architect Martin Ebert is the brains behind these two challenging additions and the land freed up will be used to accommodate the Spectator Village and Championship infrastructure.
Five new bunkers have been installed, taking the overall total to 64, and the course has been lengthened by 200 yards to 7,317.
The jewel of Antrim
Royal Portrush is accessible to everyone too, with Belfast situated just 60 miles down the road. while other famous Northern Ireland landmarks are within reach.
The Giants Causeway is just along the coast and the seven-mile stroll from the course to the Cause is among the most spectacular in the British Isles.
That walk also takes you past the gorgeous village of Bushmills – most famous as the home of the Old Bushmills Whiskey Distillery.
Each Open venue leaves its own imprint and Royal Portrush is sure to become one of the most popular. It can’t be missed.
In July 2019, The Open will return to Northern Ireland for the first time in 68 years. Be part of the biggest party in golf in 2019. Get immediate access to Priority tickets for The 148th Open at Royal Portrush when you sign up today to join The One Club for free. Simply go to TheOpen.com/PortrushTickets.