PORTRUSH – It took 68 years for the British Open to return to Royal Portrush, and after a memorable week of golf, with Irishman Shane Lowry triumphing amid emotional scenes, it is hard to imagine anything but a swift return to the Northern Irish links course.
From the huge crowds for the first day of practice, through to the joyous celebrations on Sunday, Portrush embraced the Open with a bear hug as tight as Lowry’s with his father on the 18th.
“It has obviously been a long time coming back to Royal Portrush, and I think the crowds have shown that there’s an appetite to have it back a bit sooner than in 70 years,” said England’s Lee Westwood, with characteristic under-statement.
The venue ticked every box for a successful Open - a challenging links course loved by the players, a local population that lives and breathes golf, good organisation and just enough infrastructure to cope with the biggest crowds seen outside of St Andrews.
Indeed there are suggestions that the beautiful coastal course could host again as early as 2024. Not surprisingly, Graeme McDowell, a Portrush native, is championing such a quick return.