Saturday 17 August 2019

'It would be a brave man who would deny Royal Portrush second Open'

Tiger’s lament: Some of the bunkers at The Open, you wonder why is it there and then all of a sudden it’s in play. Photo: Reuters
Tiger’s lament: Some of the bunkers at The Open, you wonder why is it there and then all of a sudden it’s in play. Photo: Reuters

Brian Keogh

Royal Portrush and the R&A were thrilled with the success of The Open's return after a 68-year absence with 'when' rather than 'if' now the big question mark over future Opens on the Antrim coast.

The first all-ticket sell-out in the event's history, "ticked a lot of boxes" for the R&A, which relies on income generated from The Open to fund its support for golf worldwide.

Courses that return to the Open rota after a long absence have traditionally returned within the decade and while there is talk of a 2024 Open at the Dunluce Links, both the R&A and the club insist that no decision has been taken as yet.

Still euphoric after Shane Lowry's victory, the Chairman of the Royal Portrush Championship committee, John Bamber, said: "We are all incredibly excited here today. But now the circus has moved out of town and it is very important we all sit back now and reflect.

"We must reflect at a time well away from the excitement and enthusiasm we are now feeling.

"We will look at it again. Nothing has been discussed. Nothing has been decided.

"We will have a conversation with our members and then sit down with the R&A and see if there is something for the future.

"I very much hope there will be. It would be a brave man who would deny a second Open in recent history coming back to Royal Portrush."

The R&A sold 237,000 tickets for Royal Portrush, where Lowry's six-shot win was beamed into 600 million homes worldwide.

"When we all calm down a bit and we will be feeling objective, we will look at everything that's happened, both pluses and minuses and we will weigh it up," R&A CEO Martin Slumbers said.

"But this has ticked a lot of boxes this week. Big-time sport needs big-time crowds and they have been delivered here - enthusiastic, knowledgeable - so it ticks a lot of boxes."

Before going on to miss the cut, Tiger Woods said: "This is just a wonderful golf course. It can play so many different ways, depends on the wind, what it does.

"Some of the bunkers here, you wonder why in the hell is it there. And then all of a sudden it's in play."

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