The announcement about Portmarnock wanting to host a major comes after the club said it had contacted the R&A to say that it wanted to explore the possibility of hosting either major, or it is now looking for support from the Irish Government, something that seems inevitable.
Golfshake’s Derek Clements had two main reasons for Portmarnock not to host either major. “Yes, it is a world-class golf course, but it is in the Republic of Ireland, which is not part of the United Kingdom, where both majors have always been contested”.
And lastly, “it banned women from joining the club until as recently as 2021.” But despite these two reasons, Derek admitted that his stance softened.
But it wasn’t the first time that women were poorly treated. Muirfield was removed from the rota because it did not allow members. It lifted that ban purely and simply to get back on the rota. Royal Troon did the same thing ahead of the 2016 Open. “And they are not alone in their historically dreadful treatment of women,” Clements added.
Irish Sports Minister Catherine Martin and Minister of State for Sport Thomas Byrne have issued a joint statement saying they “welcomed the contact between Portmarnock Golf Club and the R&A regarding a possible future hosting of The Open and the Women’s Open.”
“This exciting news has clear potential for sport and tourism on the island of Ireland, and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media is open to engaging with the club to assess whether government support would be required to underpin a bid by the club to host such events.”
A major has never been held in the Republic of Ireland, but it would be huge if it were to happen as it brings a huge and passionate crowd as it did when Shane Lowery won it in 2019.
Portmarnock has held big golf competitions in the past, and it will be hosting the Women’s Amateur Championship, having previously held it in 1931. Phil Anderton, Chief Development Officer at The R&A, said, “Portmarnock has a rich history of staging world-class championship golf, and we look forward to returning to the iconic links next year to stage the Women’s Amateur.”
So why can’t Portmarnock host The Open and the Women’s Open in the coming years?
As Derek Clements said when discussing his reasons, “However, maybe it really is time to move on.”