Darren Clarke’s big win caught the eyes of many, and from a governmental standpoint, the effects of the victory could last until 2016. Minister of Tourism Arlene Foster believes that the media attention drawn to Northern Irish area will undoubtadly catch the eye of the Royal and Ancient (golf’s governing body), so that the 2016 British Open could be held in Ireland.
According to BBC, Foster said that, "We're looking at bringing the Irish Open to Portrush...That will showcase Royal Portrush in a way which will make it easier for us to get the British Open here.” The last time the tournament was held in Ireland was in 1951, the only time it’s ever been held outside of Britain’s mainland.
Following up on that, Foster also revealed her understanding of needing to impress Royal & Ancient. She expressed her belief that if Royal Portrush could successfully host a smaller-scale event like the Irish Open, then R&A “will be looking at us in a more meaningful way.”
“That's what we need to do,” she explained. “To stage - if you like - some of the intermediate championships before we go for the big one.”
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Rory McIlroy has voiced his opinion on wanting to hold the Championship in Ireland. He told the Mirror, “to have an open championship in Northern Ireland would be incredible. It has been a long time since it's been here. I think the course is definitely good enough."
Darren Clark, too, would love to see the Open held at Royal Portrush, where he’s a member. "I wish there was some way around it and I hope at some stage in the future they will find a way around it because the golf course is every bit as good as any of the Open venues.”
In preparation for taking on the responsibility of holding the Open, Foster has thought of everything the R&A could possible fret over. She explained that if they were concerned about needed too many people from around Portrush, for instance, they simply wouldn’t “base everybody in and around Portrush.” Royal St. Georges, she used as an example, takes people from all over southern England.
The R&A seems to be equally and enticed by the possibility of having the Open back in Ireland. "We're all very aware of the fact that three winners from Northern Ireland increases the interest level in this," announced Peter Dawson, the golf club’s chief exec. He does, however, admit that they haven’t really looked into the course and if there may be any problems with it which could make it unsuitable enough to host the event.
A lack of hotel accommodation in the area is a major drawback according to report, as well as major access roads.
Irish golf fans shouldn’t get their hopes up just yet; Dawson also said, "I don't want to start a hare running on this, other than we are going to take a closer look."