Graeme McDowell has described ambitious plans to revamp Royal Portrush as “amazing”.
The County Antrim links could host The Open Championship as early as 2019 after planning application was approved to begin renovations at the course.
Work will include the building of two new holes to make way for corporate hospitality marquees and spectator villages.
Major champion McDowell – who won the US Open in 2010 – is relishing the return of The Open to his native Portush.
It will see the event return to Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951.
“I’ve seen the renovation plans – they look amazing,” McDowell said.
“I can’t wait to see the plans evolve and playing the course in major championship-ready conditions.
“It’s exciting that the planning permission has come through. My little brother is on the green staff at Portrush and I know they can’t wait to get their teeth into the renovations.
“With visitors coming over it will be a huge boost to the economy and so many great things will come out of this opportunity.”
The R&A – golf’s governing body – confirmed Royal Portrush as an Open venue last June, subject to infrastructure work being completed.
The decision to bring the tournament to the links followed its successful staging of the Irish Open in 2012.