The Open 2019: Two-time winner Padraig Harrington predicts 'unbelievable' atmosphere

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'The whole community will get involved' - Harrington looks forward to Irish Open

Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington says players will "experience something they have never experienced at an Open Championship before" at Royal Portrush.

The Open is returning to the north Antrim coast for the first time in 68 years between 18 and 21 July.

"I just know that the atmosphere will be second to none," said two-time Open winner Harrington.

"Hosting a great event means it will come back again in the future."

The Dubliner won his first major at Carnoustie in 2007 before spectacularly retaining the Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale a year later.

Major victories for Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke in the years that followed furthered calls for the tournament to be staged outside of England or Scotland for just the second time.

"It is startling because when we started talking about this just after I won my first major it was just talk at that stage," recalled the 2020 Ryder Cup captain and 2008 US PGA champion.

"Behind the scenes it started to build some momentum and it is unbelievable that we are actually here now."

Padraig Harrington
Harrington won the Open for the first time at Carnoustie in 2007

Tickets for the event were sold in record time, with 43,750 spectators expected to descend upon the Dunluce links on each of the four championship days.

"It was unbelievable when it was announced and now we are only two weeks away from it actually happening, it is phenomenal," said Harrington.

"I know it is going to be a great event."

Before making his way up north, Harrington is part of an impressive field at the Irish Open.

Clarke, McDowell and Shane Lowry are among the other local interests at Lahinch, with major winners Danny Willett and Martin Kaymer also in attendance.

Harrington will tee off alongside English duo Tyrrell Hatton and Ian Poulter at 13:10 BST on Thursday.