Michael Hoey, Northern Ireland’s latest champion on The European Tour, has urged golf fans to take advantage of this final week of the discounted ticket offer for the Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club from June 28 to July 1.
The 33 year old from Ballymoney claimed his fourth European Tour title yesterday when a 17 under par total of 271 at Golf du Palais Royal in the Moroccan city of Agadir helped him to a three shot victory in the Trophée Hassan II.
The former British Amateur champion – who captured the Madeira Islands Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last season – acknowledged that this latest success for a golfer from Northern Ireland, adding to the recent Major Championship triumphs of Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy, can further increase the crowds already expected to witness the Irish Open’s first playing north of the border since 1953.
“The Irish Open is one of the biggest tournaments of the year and if we can get the same kinds of crowds as we had in Killarney it will be amazing,” said Hoey. “I’ve certainly had far too many ticket requests to cope with already and I’ve had to start turning people down – so my advice to them would be to get online and get their discounted tickets this week.
“Killarney last year was an unbelievable atmosphere with over 80,000 people there and I think there will be crowds like that at Portrush. You can feel the excitement for the event building back home and if we get those kinds of crowds then it will make the Irish Open feel like a Major.
“For me the Irish Open has always been like The Open, and now that it’s coming to Portrush it will be every bit as important at The Open this year. It’s an amazing course and with Rory, Graeme, Darren and myself there it will be a special week for Northern Ireland.
“I keep getting asked why Northern Ireland has produced so many good players in recent times, it’s difficult to say exactly but I suppose there are a number of factors. The Golfing Union of Ireland does a great job; we have all had good levels of support and I think that the conditions you have to play in in Northern Ireland makes you have to be a better player. When you play tough courses in tough conditions you have to become even better to succeed. But obviously there is talent in there too!”
Tickets to see Northern Ireland’s galaxy of stars alongside the cream of European Tour golfing talent are available at a discounted rate until Saturday March 31. Among the offers available is an Adult Season ticket at £60 instead of the gate price of £80, a Concession Season ticket at £40 (instead of £60), an Adult Any One Day ticket at £25 (instead of £35) and an entrance ticket for the Pro-Am tournament on Wednesday June 27 for £5 (instead of £10).
Hospitality packages are sold out for Thursday and Friday but are still available on Saturday and Sunday. To take advantage of any of these offers, please visit www.europeantourtickets.com