A brand new format and a tournament full of innovation is certain to make the 2017 Northern Ireland Open, presented by Modest! Golf, one of the most talked about events in world golf this year and a must visit for golf fans across the UK and Ireland.
Now in its fifth year, the NI Open is one of the best supported events on the European Challenge Tour’s international schedule, both with record attendances and depth of field. And now in 2017, the NI Open has embraced the European Tour’s vision of introducing fresh new ideas and innovation to professional golf with the introduction of Shootout Sunday.
The NI Open takes place at its perennial home Galgorm Castle from August 10-13 with 156 players teeing it up ahead of the traditional 36-hole cut, before a 54-hole cut followed by five rounds of six-hole strokeplay matches in what will be a high octane and dramatic #ShootoutSunday.
Continuing the short form matchplay theme from other European Tour events such as this year’s Super 6 in Perth, Australia, the NI Open will produce even greater excitement because the knock-out, strokeplay format on the final day will ensure the action continues until the last hole for each of the 28 matches.
Mark McDonnell, Director of Modest! Golf, said: “We are delighted to return to the NI Open, this time as Presenting Sponsor. We love working alongside the European Challenge Tour and Galgorm Castle and this year is set to be bigger and better than ever before.”
Fellow Modest! Golf Director Niall Horan commented: “We are excited to be coming back to the NI Open and introducing a brand new format. Shootout Sunday will be a great concept, both for the players and spectators.”
With a thrilling summer of golf on the horizon for Irish golf fans with two European Tour Group events in Northern Ireland, the NI Open’s exciting new format offers a new dimension that complements the staging of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Portstewart earlier in the holidays. Interactive and family events will also be on site at Galgorm Castle during the NI Open and one of the province’s sporting highlights will once again have FREE entry for all spectators.
“We always look forward to returning to Galgorm Castle for one of our favourite weeks of the year and this year’s NI Open will now have the added dimension of an innovative new format,” said Alain de Soultrait, Director European Challenge Tour.
“On the Challenge Tour we are proud of our role in helping to grow and develop the game of golf so this imaginative new tournament fits our tour perfectly. The Northern Irish crowds are among the most knowledgeable and passionate in the world and they support this event phenomenally every year, and we are sure that they will enjoy this year’s tournament, and especially the Shootout Sunday, even more.”
Tournament Ambassador Michael Hoey continues to be closely involved and has been a key figure in helping to make the NI Open an even better experience for players, spectators and television viewers.
“The NI Open comes hot on the heels of the Irish Open and what is being devised here at Galgorm is an exciting new twist which sets it apart from anything we’ve ever had in Northern Ireland,” said Hoey, a five–time European Tour winner, who finished eighth at Galgorm in 2016 behind winner Ryan Fox from New Zealand.
“We have spoken to several players about the change in format, including last year’s winner Ryan Fox, and all agreed that the new format is an extremely exciting new prospect. The NI Open’s unique and innovative strokeplay matches on the Sunday is a first for professional golf and is sure to be a highlight on the global golfing calendar.”
“The new format is certain to be more entertaining for spectators, especially with holes like the redesigned par three seventh sure to throw up plenty of drama as crowds converge at strategic parts of the course.”
Like every year, the NI Open simply would not be possible without the ongoing help from the tournament’s core supporters such as Tourism NI, Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, Tourism Ireland, Sport NI and the Golfing Union of Ireland Ulster Branch.
Councillor Audrey Wales MBE, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, said: “I am very pleased to say that we welcome thousands of spectators to Galgorm for the Northern Ireland Open.
“They bring considerable economic benefits and I’m sure players, their support teams and many spectators will again be enjoying our legendary hospitality across Mid and East Antrim Borough’s hotels and guest houses in 2017.
“The Borough will again also benefit from the global media coverage of the Northern Ireland Open this August and there is plenty more in golfing terms offered all year round with nine courses in all in the Borough.”