|Royal Portrush: Host venue for the 2012 Irish Open|
The NITB's efforts to promote the tournament saw them host a media lunch in Dublin this week to update journalists in the Republic on how the event is shaping up. The answer, it seems, is pretty damn well!
The Irish Open hasn't been staged in the North since 1953. The 30 or so media in attendance heard that the 2012 staging of the Irish Open is set to become the best attended European Tour event in history, with the total number of spectators forecast to exceed 100,000 for the first time ever. The last of the 27,000 tickets for the final day of the tournament (Sunday) sold out several weeks ago and at the time of writing (June 12) only 2,000 or so tickets remain for the Saturday. More than 20,000 tickets have been sold for both the Thursday and Friday. Present at the lunch in Dublin was Irish OpenTournament Director for the European Tour, Antonia Beggs, who stated that the organisers expect the event to sell out completely over the coming 16 days.
When you consider that Portrush was only announced as the host venue at the start of January this year, those figures are mighty impressive. How do they compare to previous years? In 2011, the European Tour say that 86,500 fans passed through the gates at Killarney Golf & Fishing Club, up from 82,500 at the same venue in 2010.
The fervour for tickets among golf fans in the North is understandable, given the exploits of local heroes Graeme McDowell, Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy over the past 24 months. Add to this the fact that the Irish Open hasn't been held north of the border since 1953 and the stage is set for one hell of an event.
One thing's for sure, Carton House, the host venue for the Irish Open in 2013, are likely to have a big act to follow!
|Antonia Beggs, Irish Open Tournament Director for the European Tour with Alan Clarke, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Tourist Board, and Fiona Cunningham, Market Manager Northern Ireland Tourist Board (ROI)|
Royal Portrush Golf Club
Irish Open Tickets
Irish Open Website