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Golf

Open chief surprised by Portrush demand

1st January 2019, 17:22 by Jack Ogalbe

The organisers of the Open say they have been surprised by the demand for tickets ahead of this year's tournament at Portrush.

Major golf returns to Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951, the only other occasion the County Antrim layout has held the tournament and the sole edition of the Open to have been played outside of England and Scotland.

Mike Woodcock, director of corporate communications at the R&A, has been at Portush working on the logistical plans for the event.

While he admits the organisation always knew that crossing the Irish Sea would generate plenty of appeal, Woodcock says they underestimated the level of interest in the tournament.

"We were confident there would be huge excitement here but I think even we were staggered by just how much there was when the championship days sold out in two months," he said.

"It was phenomenal really and I think that speaks volumes about the enthusiasm, not only for golf but for sport here in Northern Ireland.

"The Open is one of the world's greatest sporting events, the world's greatest golfers will be playing here, and I think it's just fantastic. We're seeing a real buzz."

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Jack Ogalbe has been working for the team since his student days, having enjoyed a successful placement. He is an avid West Ham fan but also enjoys writing on rugby union, golf, tennis and cycling.

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