European Tour, LGPA and LET to stage summer mixed tournament in Northern Ireland

ISPS HANDA Founder and Chairman, Dr Haruhisa Handa with Modest! Golf Management owner and ISPS HANDA Ambassador, Niall Horan Credit: Getty Images

The European Tour, LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour will join forces for a mixed tournament at the ISPS HANDA World Invitational presented by Niall Horan's Modest! Golf Management in Northern Ireland this summer.

The 288-strong event - 144 men and 144 women - sees the tournament elevated to European Tour status following its inaugural edition on the European Challenge Tour in 2019.

Keith Pelley, chief executive of the European Tour, said: "We are excited to once again work alongside ISPS HANDA and Modest! Golf Management, both of whom share our vision of driving golf further through innovation and inclusivity.

"Galgorm Castle was a hugely popular addition to our Race to Dubai schedule in 2020 and we are all looking forward to returning there in July."

The event will be played over two courses, Galgorm Castle and Massereene, from July 28 August 1 and form part of the European Tour's 2021 UK Swing, taking in tournaments across the four home nations in July and August.The women's field will be split equally between the LPGA and the Ladies European Tour, while the 2.35 million dollars purse will be divided evenly as the men women compete for two equal prize funds.

The men's tournament will count towards the European Tour's Race to Dubai and carry Team Europe Ryder Cup points.

The women's tournament will count towards the Race to the CME Globe for women on the LPGA Tour, the Race to Costa del Sol on the Ladies European Tour (LET) and Solheim Cup points for both Team Europe and Team USA.

Niall Horan, owner of Modest! Golf Management, said: “This is a key moment for professional golf in this part of the world, and with the help of ISPS HANDA along with both the LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and European Tour we have been able to take the ISPS HANDA World Invitational to a new level, which will without doubt reach new audiences around the world.

“The message behind the tournament perfectly aligns with Modest! Golf’s ethos of providing opportunities for all and ensuring golf is a game for everyone. These are vital messages which we plan to further develop with The R&A having recently announced our partnership with them.

“I have been attending European Tour events for as long as I can remember. To host a co-sanctioned LPGA Tour and European Tour event on the island of Ireland gives me so much pride and I cannot wait to return to the amazing Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort this summer, the perfect venue to host such a tournament.”

Economy Minister Diane Dodds said: “The decision to bring the ISPS HANDA World Invitational back to Galgorm is another ringing endorsement for golf in Northern Ireland.

"It is wonderful to welcome this innovative tournament which will bring together the best that both the men’s and women’s games have to offer.

"Following the recent successes of the Open Championship at Royal Portrush in 2019 and last year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Galgorm, I have no doubt this event will further strengthen Northern Ireland’s reputation for delivering high-profile international competitions.

“It is my hope that the situation with Covid 19 restrictions will improve sufficiently to allow as many spectators as possible to attend the event. However, as the event will reach hundreds of millions of homes across the globe, I am delighted that once again Northern Ireland will get the opportunity to show the world that it is made for golf.”

Tournament golf has been played at Galgorm for over a decade with the first Northern Ireland Open hosted at the Ballymena venue in 2010.