Tourism NI recently launched The Epic Journey to The 148th Open, to mark the return of golf’s original championship to Northern Ireland for the first time in almost 70 years. The local Antrim community, from schools, golf clubs, tourism industry representatives and sports stars, are being invited to join the excitement on Kerr Street Green, Portrush, on Thursday 30th May from 11am to 1pm.
The community event is taking place across every county in Northern Ireland, along with Dublin City, and will be rolling into Portrush on the sixth stop of its 500-mile journey.
The Epic Journey to The 148th Open aims to get the Antrim community involved in the buzz and civic pride surrounding the staging of golf’s most prestigious championship in Northern Ireland this July. Unprecedented demand from fans wanting to attend The Open has led to record-breaking ticket sales and the Championship will be a sell-out on Championship Days for the first time.
It is truly an epic year for Northern Ireland tourism as The Open at Royal Portrush will be beamed live to over 600 million households across the world. It is set to attract more than 215,000 eager spectators, with a team of 6,000 staff and 350 volunteers warmly welcoming visitors.
Leanne Rice, Golf Marketing Manager at Tourism NI, said: “The 148th Open is the biggest sporting event that Northern Ireland has ever held. We are delighted to be able to bring a part of it to communities within NI and celebrate its return. The Epic Journey will engage the community and golfing fans alike, with the opportunity to win coveted tickets to The Open at each stop. The County Antrim stop of the journey is very special, a teaser of what we can expect as we all look forward to returning to Portrush in July.
“We are also partnering with Sport NI, golf clubs and councils at each Epic Journey event to drive interest and participation not only in golf, but also in all sport to ensure that hosting a major global sporting event offers a lasting legacy for many years to come.”
The County Antrim stop of The Epic Journey to The 148th Open tour will also bring Darren Clarke’s Claret Jug from his win at Royal St George’s Golf Club in 2011. Along with a giant #TheOpen letter sculpture, designed by Tourism NI and made out of 4,000 golf balls, unveiled by global golfing hero and Champion Golfer, Rory McIlroy, last October.
Rory McIlroy commented: “The Open returning to Portrush is massive for Northern Ireland, everyone is so excited and is getting behind it. I never thought I would have the opportunity to play in a major championship at home and I’m really looking forward to it. You can really feel the buzz here already, as we get ready to welcome The Open for the first time in over half a century.”
Fans can still book their place at Royal Portrush on Practice Days with a limited number of new official hospitality packages also remaining on sale. Visit TheOpen.com/Tickets.
For further information on Tourism NI’s ‘Epic Journey to The 148th Open’ campaign visit discovernorthernireland.com/epicjourney