Portrush hosted the Irish Open last year for the first time since 1953, returning to the course on the heels of the major-championship success of Ulstermen Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke.
Over 112,000 people attended last year’s Irish Open which, in part, was designed to show the R&A just how the club could be successful as a “boutique” host of the Open Championship. Royal Portrush is the only club outside of England and Scotland to host the game’s oldest major, doing so in 1951.
The R&A has publicly said its comfortable with its current rotation of courses, and that it continues to have reservations about infrastructure and safety if they brought the Open Championship to Royal Portrush.
Perhaps the USGA hosting the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion will actually be most helpful in making Portrush’s case, as the Ardmore, Pa., club is one-third the size in acreage as the Dunluce links.
“This is way more of a logistical nightmare putting the U.S. Open here than putting the Open Championship at Portrush,” said Rory McIlroy to the BBC.
“Anyone who says that it (Portrush) doesn’t have the infrastructure, that is it is not logistically accessible needs to come here and see that it can be done.”