Graeme McDowell is delighted that the Open is heading for Royal Portrush — 2019 is the date — and even cracked a joke at Peter Dawson's expense.
The R&A CEO was always lukewarm, publicly at least, on the Antrim venue's suitability as an Open venue.
But with the R&A and the Northern Ireland Executive set to make it official at Royal Portrush in a joint press conference on Monday, McDowell joked: "It's a result in a lot of gentle ribbing in the direction of Mr. Dawson the last four or five years from myself and McIlroy and Clarke. Nice to see the fruits of our labour, I suppose."
Hoping he will still be competitive in 2019, when he will be pushing 40, McDowell said of Monday's joint press conference at Royal Portrush with the R&A and the Northern Ireland Executive: "Beautiful. That's extremely exciting. I've been kind of hesitant to comment because I really didn't want to take anything away from the official announcement.
"So I'm very proud of where I grew up. I'm very proud of the tradition and history there, and to bring an Open Championship back to Northern Ireland is very special.
"It speaks volumes about how far the country has come. It's going to be a very special thing for Northern Ireland and Ireland in general. I just hope I'm exempt and playing well.
"I guess it's been a dream of mine as a kid. I've been out there, spent many an hour out there as a kid, and dreaming of playing Major championships. And to have a Major championship come to Portrush. The Open Championship is special stuff. "