By Jeff Shain, Tribune Newspapers
July 28, 2011
The biggest winner in Northern Ireland's parade of major champions might turn out to be Royal Portrush.
The scenic club overlooking the country's northern coast is getting a renewed look to bring back the British Open for the first time in more than 50 years. Meanwhile, there's new discussion about taking the Irish Open north as soon as 2013.
Club officials said last week that Northern Ireland finance ministers have pledged the necessary financial support to lure the Irish Open, which has had eight host venues in the last 13 years.
"That will showcase Royal Portrush in a way that will make it easier for us to get the British Open here," tourism official Arlene Foster said.
Royal Portrush was the site of the 1951 British Open, the only time it has been held outside Scotland or England. New Open champion Darren Clarke and 2010 U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell are members.
Though Royal & Ancient officials have expressed concerns about housing and road access for spectators, Chairman Peter Dawson agreed last week to a fresh examination.
"We're all very aware of the fact that three winners from Northern Ireland increases the interest level in this," Dawson said.
"It's still heartbreaking," Pettersen told reporters upon arriving at Carnoustie for the Women's British Open. She noted that a parade in Oslo to honor the victims drew close to 150,000, turning the event into "some kind of concert."
"There are only 500,000 people living in Oslo, so it was as crowded as anyone has seen the place," she said. "We stay strong together. Obviously no one can do anything about what actually happened, but we can all stay together."
— Jeff Shain
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