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
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

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific