Open won't be going to Ireland

Ernie Els will be in Qatar, Tiger and Phil will be in San Diego. For Canadians, Jon Mills will be in the field at Torrey Pines, as will Stephen Ames.One other thing is certain: The British Open won’t be going to Ireland any time soon.

That’s the word in an article in the Herald in which David Hill, the R&A’s director of tournaments, says it is just too tough logisitically to take the tournament to a place like Royal County Down:

Hill said it would be wrong to say “never” but the R&A had looked closely at taking the Open back there and to Royal County Down “and there is absolutely no way” logistically of coping with as many as 50,000 spectators a day.”If we were dealing with all-ticket crowds of 15-20,000 then that would be different and would bring another seven or eight courses into play, but the R&A philosophy has been to encourage as many people as possible to come to the Open.”

It is an interesting remark, since it appeared to me that Portmarnock, that presents a great course and a location near Dublin, would be an ideal club to host the Open Championship. I can’t really understand how Portmarnock or Royal County Down differ dramatically in terms of logistics from the great Scottish links.
Hill also remarked that Scottish golf courses have had to pick up their promotion of tourism in order to compete with Ireland, which has done a great job of promoting itself as a golf destination.

He said there was an awareness that other countries had promoted golf more positively but Scotland was now awakening to the potential.”There is a huge demand from Americans, and to take advantage of that marketplace needs the recognition by all golf clubs in Scotland that they have a duty to encourage as many visitors as they can reasonably take. Most of them already are,” said Hill.

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Jeff Lancaster

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  • If Belfast continues to boom the way it has, I don’t see why the Open couldn’t make it to a place like County Down at some point.

    Portmarnock is another kettle of fish. Regardless of its suitability as a site, it’s in the Republic. This is (still) a meaningful distinction. To many in the R&A corridors of power, I’d imagine it would be perceived as altering the very identity of the event. It is, after all, the British Open.

  • That’s an interesting thought and one I hadn’t considered. I think Portmarnock has more of the logistics and emenities that would make it a good site — and the fact there are 27 holes would help with tents and such. But maybe you are right and the politics will keep this from happening…. but if they are actually talking about taking this to Europe, I can’t see why the republic would be an issue.

  • It’s not the British Open, it’s The Open Championship. Why does it even have to be in the UK? Why not hold it in the colonies or former colonies, like Canada or Australia.

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