WHEN it comes to sport, the people of the North-East can’t get enough.

The hosting of the finals of Europe’s two largest rugby union competitions in Newcastle at the weekend being declared a huge success is a great example of that.

And the passion and support from nearly 70,000 golf fans in 2017 has helped entice the prestigious British Masters back to Close House, at Heddon-on-the-Wall.

The hosting of the European Tour tournament in Tynedale two years ago attracted the largest crowds since the Masters was revived in 2015, and, as a result, the competition will make a swift return between July 30 and August 2, 2020.

Close House owner Graham Wylie denied reports the venue would host the elite tournament for three consecutive years, but said he was overjoyed that an estimated 70,000 golf fans would be heading back to the North-East. He said: “Close House is a great showcase because we have turned it into one of the top golf courses in the country.

“We had the tournament here two years ago and it’s testament to the quality of the fans, but also the golf course, that the European Tour wants to bring it back so early.

“Keith Pelley, the chief executive of the tour, actually approached me and said they really enjoyed being in the North-East, loved the atmosphere, loved working with us and really wanted to bring the tournament back.”

While the 2017 event was held in late September and early October, a summer date is expected to draw even more people in.

The weekend doesn’t clash with the football season this time around, although it will be held while the Tokyo Olympics are ongoing. However, the Olympics will be broadcast at night in Britain.

The earlier date will also likely attract a star-studded field with qualifying points for that September’s Ryder Cup still up-for-grabs.

Preparations for the tournament are already under way despite it still being 16 months away, and there are plans to expand the activities on offer, including a star-studded celebrity pro-am and Junior Masters.

Tickets have gone on sale and are currently available at heavily discounted prices. For more, head to www.closehouse.com.