Despite a successful week hosting the Irish Open three weeks ago, Royal Portrush does not seem to have convinced the Royal & Ancient it deserves an Open Championship bid.
“There is a great deal and a huge amount of money would need to be spent, in my estimation, to make Royal Portrush a sensible choice,” said Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, the R&A’s executive director of championships, on Wednesday.
Peter Dawson, chief executive of the governing body, said the Open rota is, more or less, full.
“We don’t feel short of Open venues now, let me say,” he said. “We’re not rushing to look for more; we don’t feel that pressure.”
The R&A still has logistical questions about Portrush’s feasibility to host the Open for the first time since 1951. In particular, the body cannot fathom installing its famous grandstands at an 18th hole to host 20,000 spectators, much less the corporate hospitality important to the bottom line of the championship.
“That’s not a criticism of Royal Portrush; it’s a wonderful golf course,” Cole-Hamilton said. “But the commercial aspects of it are quite onerous. And obviously The R&A would need to be sorting those things out as well as just simply the logistics of the whole affair. It’s going to take some time to come to a view, and the view may be no.”