The Open Championship is the biggest and most coveted tournament on the golfing schedule, and will remain as such.
However, with a seemingly unstructured and discretionary process of course selection in place, coupled with the success of the Irish Open, fresh calls have been made for change.
Last year, the R&A’s Chief Executive, Peter Dawson, said he would consider calls to turn Royal Portrush into an Open Venue, and the success of this year’s tournament has significantly increased dialogue on the subject. So, should Portrush be re-instated?
As Dawson said, the course is good enough, and all the players paid testament to the wonderful galleries present at Portrush.
In stark contrast to some American crowds – who feel the need to shout ludicrous things like ‘mashed potato’ – the spectators were well behaved, respectful and knowledgeable.
The tournament was also played in tremendous spirit, with players interacting with fans and even police offering to give lifts to the course.
That is the beauty of the Irish people and the Irish way, and it would be a shame if a compromise couldn’t be reached.
The fact the Northern Irish Tourist Board sponsored the event also shows the level of passion, commitment and dedication to the cause.
Logistics could be the make or break, however, and you do understand the R&S’s concern.
Having said that, more than 130,000 graced Portrush at the Irish Open, with very few complaints about transport.
Whilst another 100,000 would be expected at the Open, last week’s event showed it is possible, and more importantly, there is a whole army of people willing to do everything in their power to make it work.
We won’t know until we try it, but the prospective success clearly outweighs the gamble.