Portmarnock Golf Club looks more likely than ever to become the first venue outside of the UK to host The Open.
Though any decision remains some way off, Portmarnock confirmed it has had informal contact with The R&A, golf’s governing body, to discuss the possibility of hosting The Open and the AIG Women’s Open in the coming years.
Widely considered as one of the world’s great links, Portmarnock Golf Club has always been seen as one of the fairest tests of golf in the world. It sits on rolling ground, rather than amid dramatic dunes, and stretches out on a spit of land in the Irish Sea just north of Dublin.
Over the years, Portmarnock has played host to some of the game’s most distinguished players, from Harry Vardon and Henry Cotton to Sam Snead, Gary Player, and Arnold Palmer. More recently, Padraig Harrington, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, and Paul McGinley have been regular visitors, as was Tiger Woods in his pomp. Portmarnock is accustomed to hosting championships, having welcomed the Irish Open on 19 occasions with Ben Crenshaw, Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam and Jose Maria Olazabal among the winners. It also hosted the Walker Cup in 1991 and The Amateur Championship in 2019.
Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, is the only golf club outside of Britain to have hosted The Open, having done so in 1951 and 2019. It will do so again in 2025 and the island of Ireland’s passion for golf and love of the sport has made each event a hugely compelling and successful championship.
Niall Goulding, captain of Portmarnock Golf Club, said the club would require government to support to host The Open and that dialogue with the authorities had begun. In turn, Ireland’s department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport, and Media, described a potential Open at Portmarnock Golf Club as “exciting news” and said it was open to engaging with the club about the help it might need.
“The Open is the most iconic of all the golf majors and its hosting in Portrush in 2019 was a tremendous success,” a statement read. “Its impact was felt all across the island and we look forward to its return to Portrush in 2025 … a future subsequent hosting of The Open and / or the Women’s Open would further enhance Ireland’s reputation as a world-leading golf destination. The value that this brings to our tourism sector, and to courses, communities, and businesses all across the island, is well understood. With over 400 golf courses, and one third of links courses worldwide, Ireland has a deserved reputation as a key global destination for golf.”
Rory McIlroy has previously hinted that the R&A was seriously considering Portmarnock Golf Club has a potential venue for The Open and said he thought it would make a fitting venue. “I think it would be fantastic,” he said. “There are so many other considerations to hosting a major championship apart from just being a great golf course. There has to be a lot of stuff that that makes sense. But, you know, having a course that’s so close to a major city, so close to a major airport, having a great golf course, I think it would be amazing.”
With The Open at Royal Troon in 2024 and at Royal Portrush in 2025, there is no timeline in place, but it is likely the R&A might want to see the AIG Women’s Open staged at Portmarnock Golf Club before it makes a decision on whether the logistics and infrastructure were in place to host The Open itself. Portmarnock Golf Club is set to host The Women’s Amateur Championship in 2024.