Royal and Ancient finally considering a return of the Open Championship to Portrush
The Royal and Ancient, one of the oldest governing bodies of the sport, has now given a green signal to a possible return of the Open at its 60-year-old venue, the Portrush in Northern Ireland. There is however a lot of work in pending before the final decision
would be undertaken by the R&A.
The debate has shot to an all-time high, inciting huge uproar from the Northern Irish fraternity, who have been fighting for the cause for a long time. The back to back victories of Irishman in high profile events have spurred up the momentum to finally
push the R & A to review its decision to stay out of the Irish territory.
R & A Chief Peter Dawson admitted that Ireland is possibly experiencing renaissance in the sport but cited several hitches which pose serious logistical problems for the organizers to stage one of the biggest event of the sport in Portrush.
“At Royal Portrush, there's not a land issue on site,” Dawson said. “It's more road access, quantity of hotels, what would the level of corporate support be, what would the crowd size be, things of that nature.”
He also argued that just because players from a particular area have been winning major events does not necessarily demand the event to be moved to that country. He was referring to Graeme McDowell’s victory at the US Open in 2010 and Rory McIlroy’s stellar
victory this year at Congressional.
“Obviously, there's much emotion about Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy's victories and why don't we go back to Northern Ireland and perhaps Portrush in particular,” Dawson said Wednesday. “And I understand that. You can't, however, hold the Open on where
players come from.”
McDowell has been a staunch supporter of bringing the Open back to Northern Irish territory and is fairly justified to the extent that only one Englishman, Paul Lawrie of Scotland, was able to win the Open in Carnoustie, 15 years ago. McDowell openly launched
his support for the Portrush last month at the University of Ulsterman, where he was awarded a doctorate for his contribution to the sport.
Dawson’s reasoning holds ground and the suburbs of Portrush are barely equipped to support an event on such a massive scale. But this has been the story with two other Links courses on the Open schedule, which were deprived of the event for several years.
Turnberry remained out of the schedule for 15 staggering years until there were enough roads and luxury hotels in the area. Royal Liverpool remained out of the circuit for nearly 40 years before the city was provided with the required amenities, and has
now been a successful venue for several years.