Niall Horan, the One Direction band member, has handed the beleaguered Ladies European Tour a much-needed boost for next season by being behind a new Northern Ireland Ladies Open.
In another move that should be applauded, part of the event will also run concurrently at Galgorm Castle in County Antrim with the men’s Northern Ireland Open, mirroring a format successfully adopted by the Vic Open in Australia.
“We are absolutely thrilled with this new concept for the NI Open from 2019,” said Horan, a director of Modest Golf!, which has been involved with the men’s event for a number of years.
“The NI Open is already one of the best events on the European Challenge Tour with record attendances every year. It has always been our vision and aim at Modest! Golf to look at ways to develop the game and appeal to new audiences.
“By introducing a ladies’ tournament to the NI Open, we are looking to broaden the appeal to a much wider audience, while providing new opportunities for our young, aspiring players.
“Current professionals like our very own Lisa and Leona Maguire (Modest Golf! clients along with Connor Syme) will benefit hugely from the return of tournament golf to Ireland.”
Catriona Matthew won the last Ladies Irish Open at Killeen Castle in 2012 – the year after the County Meath venue had staged the Solheim Cup. Meanwhile, the R&A and USGA will ask golf fans for their views on the distance issue in the game as part of a project being undertaken by the two governing bodies.
Twelve different categories covering a wide spectrum have been labelled as “stakeholders” in the latest phase of the “Distance Insights” project.
The findings are expected to be a vital component of a joint report which is scheduled to be released in 2019.