Graeme McDowell has called on organisers of golf’s oldest major to return the British Open to Royal Portrush declaring Royal Portrush has ‘proven’ it’s case with the overwhelming success of the Irish Open.
The British Open has been staged once outside of Scotland and England and that was in 1951 when the County Antrim links gem .
But after 130,785 people attended the Irish Open, including more than 30,000 on each of the closing two days, McDowell believes the R & A, as organisers of the British Open, need to now seriously consider including Royal Portrush back on the championship rota.
And McDowell, as winner of the 2010 U.S. Open, directed his plea straight at Peter Dawson, as CEO of the St. Andrews based ruling body.
“All I can say to Peter Dawson is that we have run a successful event here, we’ve had British Open style crowds with some 30,000 people coming through these gates every day,” said McDowell.
“There’s been an overwhelming vote of success from all the players with regards to the golf course and they’ve love it.
“And yes it did play a little slow but if they were to get this course firm and fast then, get the rough up and this golf course is a great British Open test.
“I know between the two of them, Peter Dawson and Mike Davis of the USGA, control two of the four Majors and you couldn’t have two better guys at the helm.
“And while in my heart I would love to see the British Open come back to Royal Portrush, and while there are so many variables involved in getting The Open back here all we can do is put our chips in the middle of the table.
“But I know we can do this and we can run a very successful British Open up here on the north coast of Northern Ireland.
“Yes, the British Open is bigger than the Irish Open, of course. It’s just such a big machine, a beast but I feel we can handle that now and we’ve proved our case for that.
“It’s going to require a lot of planning to cope with another 10 to 15,000 spectators but I am sure the R & A can find a way of handling routing the fans around the golf course, the seating and so on.
“I’m sure the R & A had its reasons and if the Open Championship doesn’t return here it will be for very, very good reasons.
“But we’ve proven our case this week and we’ve talked long and hard getting the Open Championship back here and we’ve delivered this week.”
McDowell was commenting after posting a closing round 66 to share 16th place on 10-under par.