There is some debate about should the R&A should award Royal Portrush Gold Club with staging The Open. Although Portrush has a small population of around 7,000 it has a Major champion with Graeme McDowell winning the US Open of 2010, and Ireland itself with other golfing greats, like three time Major winner Padraig Harrington, and of course the current holder of The Open, Darren Clark. Also back in 1947 Fred Daly won The Open, at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake. Fred Daly was born in Portrush, County Antrim and during his acceptance speech said he was very honored to receive the Claret Jug and take it back to Northern Ireland. He then went on to say that the trophy had never been to Ireland and that he was hoping that the change of air would help it. There was much applause and laughter at his humorous comments.
Three time Major winner Padraig Harrington, tees off in the Irish Open at Royal Portrush. photo/Belfast Telegraph
The Irish crowds last week were reported to be the best behaved set of spectators for any tournament this year, real praise indeed. The great success of the last week’s Irish Open at Royal Portrush indicates it is surely a question of when rather than if golf’s most celebrated and oldest Major, The Open, is played in this small part of the world. The R&A had observers at Royal Portrush during the tournament and just like everyone who set foot on the Dunluce Links they will have gone home mightily impressed. No one can deny the feel good factor has oozed out of the fairways, and much pleasure and pride can be taken from how everyone managed to enjoy the Irish Open event.
Some changes would be needed, a consortium headed by reigning Open Champion Darren Clark have put in some plans for the future of the multi-million pound Bushmills course. At the moment The National Trust have put a block on the project, but Darren is certain they will “soon come to their senses”.
Lets all hope so, and wish Darren and Bushmills get their way, which would facilitate Royal Portrush being awarded The Open, the Irish People deserve it.