Irish Open to be staged at Royal Portrush

This year’s Irish Open will be staged at Royal Portrush for the first time since 1947, BBC Sport understands.The European Tour is set to confirm details of the 28 June to 1 July tournament at the venue on Friday.

Major winners Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy have all called for a tour event at the course on Northern Ireland’s Antrim coast.

The Stormont Executive said last year it would provide “substantial financial backing” for such a tournament.

Killarney has hosted the event over the last two years while there was been speculation that it would be staged in the Dublin area in 2012.

Carton House, near Maynooth, was also mentioned as a possible location this year.

The tournament remains without a sponsor but US Open champion Rory McIlroy has already guaranteed his participation at Royal Portrush.

McDowell and Clarke, who both have strong links with the north coast, have agreed to act in an ambassadorial role for Royal Portrush, which will celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2013.

“Fantastic news on the Irish Open 2012 coming to Royal Portrush,” McDowell told his Twitter followers.

“Always been a dream of mine to play a top event in my home town,” he added.

Harry Bradshaw won the Irish Open when it was last held at Royal Portrush, which also hosted the event in 1930 and 1936.

The Open Championship was last played at Portrush in 1951 and there was a clamour for the major to return to the course after Darren Clarke’s success at Sandwich last year.

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