Open at Portrush no closer
Royal Portrush members have been urged not to hold their breath in anticipation of an announcement over the prospects of the British Open Championship returning to the Dunluce Links any time soon.
By Simon Lewis
Irish Examiner Reporter
As the 142nd Open gets underway today at Muirfield, the Scottish links’ 16th staging of the event, R&A chief executive Peter Dawson did little to encourage excitement in the Irish golfing community that the world’s oldest major would visit their shores for only the second time, Royal Portrush having staged the event in 1951.
“We’re cracking on with the work,” Dawson said yesterday. “We’ve got another visit planned relatively soon. You’ll have to be patient and see what comes of it.”
Nor would Dawson be drawn on the security implications of staging an Open in the North at the same time as the Orange Order marching season, which this year has once again seen flashpoints on the streets of Belfast.
“We’re still at quite an early stage in the investigation. And obviously the political situation in any area, be it Northern Ireland or any other part of the country, is a factor. But it’s far too early to say much more than that.”
The R&A chief executive was also required to once again defend the decision to stage their championship on a course belonging to a male-only golf club, one of three such sites on the Open rotation.
“We’ve got politicians posturing, we’ve got interest groups attacking the R&A, attacking The Open, and attacking Muirfield,” he said.
“Our natural reaction is to resist these pressures, because we actually don’t think they have much substance. But I’d stress we’re not so insular as to fail to recognise the potential damage campaigns like this can do to The Open.”
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