Irish Open: Portstewart selected to host 2017 tournament

Media playback is not supported on this device

Rory McIlroy will defend his Irish Open title at Portstewart

The Irish Open will return to Northern Ireland next year after Portstewart was selected to host the 2017 event.

The event's slot has been moved closer to The Open, being held from July 6-9.

It will begin three weeks of top-class links golf in Europe, being followed by the Scottish Open at Dundonald and The Open at Royal Birkdale.

"Portstewart is an excellent links course and one of Northern Ireland's hidden gems," said Rory McIlroy, who won this year's event at The K Club.

Tour officials had been in discussions with Portstewart and visited the course - which is regarded as having one of the most spectacular front-nine holes in Great Britain and Ireland - on the north coast of Northern Ireland.

The club is just four miles from Royal Portrush, which will host the 2019 Open Championship.

"We have no doubt the Strand Course will provide nothing less than a worthy test of golf," said Portstewart's general manager Michael Moss.

In April 2014, it was announced that the 2017 Irish Open would be held at inland course Lough Erne and be supported financially by the Northern Ireland Executive.

However doubts emerged in January that the Fermanagh course may not stage the tournament, and this was confirmed in April with Lough Erne stating the Tour had decided to change the venue to a links course.

Royal Portrush hosted the Irish Open in 2012, the first time it had been staged in Northern Ireland for 59 years.

Three years later the tournament was held at Royal County Down in Newcastle and supported by McIlroy's charity, the Rory Foundation.

World number four McIlroy donated his prize money from his victory at The K Club to the charity, which supports a number of children's causes and will be the official host of the Irish Open for a third year in 2017.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Keith Pellie is the Chief Executive of the European Tour

Top Stories