This year’s Northern Ireland Open is being made over into an exciting new world pro event for men and women golfers. In an extraordinary year for golf fans on the island of Ireland, the NI Open, formerly the most successful and best-attended event on the European Challenge Tour, has been transformed into a new global event for men and women professionals.
The event has been re-branded as the ISPS Handa World Invitational, presented by Modern Golf Management. The men's tournament stays part of the second-tier European Challenge Tour, while invitations will be offered to the world’s best in the women’s event.
The tournament will take place from 15–18 August and will see the leading male and female players compete in separate tournaments at the same time, with the first two rounds split over Galgorm Castle Golf Club and Massereene Golf Club, both in County Antrim.
The final two rounds will be back at Galgorm, which has hosted the NI Open since it began in 2010, and the thrilling new concept will see equal prize money totalling $500,000.
Around 300 players will take part, with both fields being cut after the second and third rounds to leave just the top names competing on the final Sunday, which will see the tee times alternated between the men and the women.
The event will also feature a large golf village for spectators at Galgorm that will host live music, artisan food stalls, interactive family entertainment, coaching zones and a junior event.
ISPS Handa, a non-profit organisation that aims to benefit the welfare of people through sports, has signed a multi-year deal with the tournament, the first of its kind in Europe.
Keen golfer and Irish pop star Niall Horan of One Direction fame is also behind the tournament. His golf management company Modest Golf has been a long-time backer of the NI Open.
Tickets have always been extremely popular for golf at Galgorm. Discounted advance ticket purchases can be made at worldinvitational.golf where spectators can take advantage of the ‘early bird offers’ to enjoy this showpiece sporting event. For golf fans it means there is an astounding summer of golf on offer around the island of Ireland. The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open takes place from 4–7 July at the iconic links of Lahinch in County Clare on the renowned Wild Atlantic Way.
It will be followed by the staging of The 148th Open, golf’s original major, at Royal Portrush on the world-famous Causeway Coastal Route from 14–21 July, before the new World Invitational event takes the golfing spotlight in August.