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Northern Irish Success Pushes Portrush

Masters winners want Open to be played in Northern Ireland

Posted Jul 22, 2011 by Chris White

The 2012 Open and US Open winners are both from Northern Ireland

With the success of Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, and now Darren Clarke in major championships in the last twelve months, Northern Irish golf is booming. Participation is on the rise, viewing figures are on the rise, and now, the chances of a Northern Irish host of the Open are also going up.

Portrush Golf Club hosted the championship back in 1951, the one and only time it has been hosted outside England and Scotland, and because of the success of the two US Open winners, and the latest Open winner, organisers of the Open are considering taking the championship across the Irish Sea.

Organisers have said that the club is perfectly good enough to host the Open, one of the four major championships; but the infrastructure is the one stumbling block. However, organisers R&A have said they will take another look at the course on the North Antrim coast.

Peter Dawson from the R&A told journalists pushing for the tournament to be taken to Northern Ireland that the course is “good enough to be in the Open rota”, but at the moment the R&A “cannot see a way of having it there.”

The Open will be staged at Royal Lytham in 2012, with the next two courses also already announced – Scotland’s Muirfield course will stage the 2013 tournament, while the Royal Liverpool course in Hoylake will host the 2014 Open Championship. At present, that means Portrush would have four years to sort any issues that the R&A might have against them hosting the Open. If the course is good enough at present, it is only going to get better should they say “yes, you will stage the 2015 Open.”

That decision is a long way off yet, but should organisers give them the go ahead, that is plenty of time to sort out roads, access, and accommodation. You could build Wembley in that time! (Unless you use the company the FA did of course).

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