Royal Portrush is fit to host Open, insists Clarke

The new Open champion Darren Clarke has reiterated his belief that Royal Portrush would be able to host the event. With Northern Ireland having produced three major winners in the last 13 months – Clarke joined Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy – the 42-year-old feels his home course would be the ideal venue if the Royal and Ancient 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 the infrastructure, commercial opportunities and potential security risks of taking the Open to Portrush for the first time since 1951.

But Clarke said yesterday: "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 practise here in that tough weather definitely helped my preparation for Sandwich."

Meanwhile, McIlroy, who lifted the US Open by eight shots last month, has parted company with his girlfriend. A statement said: "Rory's long-time relationship with Holly Sweeney came to an amicable end before the Open."

Pre-tournament favourite McIlroy finished only 25th at Royal St George's and was in a gloomy moody afterwards, not about his personal life, but his ability to handle windy conditions. After finishing his final round, McIlroy said: "I'm looking forward to getting back to America and getting back into some nice conditions."

Clarke has been seen as something of a mentor to McIlroy ever since the youngster attended his Foundation clinics. He was asked on Monday before flying back to his Portrush home what help he could still offer McIlroy.

"There's lots of advice, but I'm not going to share it with you," Clarke told reporters. "I will share that with him in the coming weeks, but in terms of what he can do, he is as talented, even more talented, than anybody on the planet with what he can do with a golf ball. He'll be fine – he'll be OK."

The pair play next at the Irish Open in Killarney starting a week tomorrow and as major champions will be in the same group – along with Masters champion Charl Schwartzel – in the first two rounds of the USPGA.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat