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Bishop: Royal Portrush 'open game' as major venue

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It was not just bluster. He wasn’t taking a veiled shot at R&A chief Peter Dawson.

When Ted Bishop said last week on Golf Channel that he would like to see an international PGA at Royal Portrush, he was simply offering a “personal opinion” and not one necessarily as president of the PGA of America. 

At least that’s what he told the SiriusXM Radio on Tuesday, when asked about the comment that (understandably) caught the attention of Northern Irishmen Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell.

“The answer that I gave was Royal Portrush – a personal opinion,” Bishop said on the radio show. “It wasn’t me as president of the PGA of America saying Royal Portrush is No. 1 on our radar for a site.

“I do think that Ireland and Royal Portrush would be a great venue,” he continued. “I will say that. But as we have said in the last few weeks, we honestly are just into the beginning stages of doing our research on where would be a potential international PGA site.” 

Bishop said having Royal Portrush host the year’s fourth major is going to be a “decade away, probably, at best,” and added that they’re still very much in the “exploratory process.”

There were also suggestions that this was just another attempt by Bishop to get under the skin of Dawson, who for years has sidestepped questions about when the seaside gem was going to host another Open (first since 1951). Earlier this year, the two leaders clashed publicly over the anchored-putting debate. 

“That couldn’t be further from the truth,” Bishop said the radio show. “I respect those guys … tremendously. If, at the same time, they have decided for whatever reason for 62 years not to take the Open Championship to Ireland, that kind of makes it open game, I guess, to a certain degree.”