When the Open Championship travelled to Northern Ireland’s storied Royal Portrush Golf Club in 2019, it was the first time golf’s oldest tournament had ventured to the Irish Isle in over 60 years. The wait for another Northern Irish Open will be shorter. Much shorter.
On Wednesday, top R&A executives and Northern Ireland government officials met at Royal Portrush to announce that the Open would return to the renowned links course in 2025.
“We could not be more thrilled to be bringing The Open back to Royal Portrush in 2025,” Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the R&A, said. “There will be huge excitement among golf fans around the world to see the best men’s players facing the challenge of this magnificent links once again.”
In a press release, Slumbers called the 2019 Open at Portrush a “massive success,” Northern Ireland First Minister Paul Givan referred the event as an “outstanding success” and Economy Minister Gordon Lyons similarly expounded on the “sheer scale of success” the club, tournament and surrounding area experienced as a result of the Open’s initial return.
It sounds like hyperbole, but the numbers back up the organizers’ ebullient praise.
According to the release, the 2019 Open at Royal Portrush attracted an astounding 237,750 spectators during tournament week. That’s the most fans who have ever attended an Open not at St. Andrews, which will host the 150th Open next year.
Futhermore, the R&A claims the Open generated more than £100 million for Northern Ireland’s economy.
Everyone involved hopes for and expects a similar level of success for 2025, including Mayor Councillor Richard Holmes of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, who said, “Based upon the way the whole of Northern Ireland embraced The 148th Open, I have no doubt that in collaboration with The R&A, Royal Portrush Golf Club and the other delivery partners, we will honour this incredible event and build upon the achievements of 2019.”
After St. Andrews in 2022, the Open will travel to Royal Liverpool in 2023 and Royal Troon in 2024 before Royal Portrush makes its third appearance on the world stage for the 153rd Open.