Sport Golf

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Clarke pushes Portrush Open claim

Champion Darren Clarke has reiterated his belief that Royal Portrush would be able to host the British Open.

With Northern Ireland having produced three Major winners in the last 13 months, with Clarke joining Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy, the 42-year-old feels his home course would be the ideal venue if the Royal and Ancient Club were to look to capitalise on the current enthusiasm for the game in the country.

R&A chief executive Peter Dawson has said the body will need to look at infrastructure, commercial opportunities and potential security risks of taking the open to Portrush for the first time since 1951. But Clarke said: "There is a lot of momentum behind it and this course is fit to host any tournament.

"Logistics are tough when it comes to staging Majors like the Open or the Irish Open.

"But if the R&A look at it, we play at Royal Lytham, which is a smaller acreage than here, and hopefully they can reassess.

"With us doing so well it would be great to see us get a Major championship here."

Clarke also presented his medal for winning at Sandwich to Royal Portrush, so it could be displayed next to the medal awarded to Fred Daly for his 1947 success.

He paid tribute to the club, saying: "I have been fortunate enough to have played around the world but, living in Portrush, this is the best course in the world and I am privileged to give them the medal so people can come into the club and see it.

"It maybe would have ended up in a drawer at home so I am glad people can come here and see it.

"I moved back home in July last year with my boys and to come and practice here in that tough weather definitely helped my preparation for Royal St George's."

Irish Independent

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