After a successful staging of the Irish Open last week at Royal Portrush, 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell feels his club has made its case to land a future British Open.
'All I can say to (R&A chief executive) Peter Dawson is that we have run a successful event here, we've had British Open-style crowds with some 30,000 people coming through these gates every day,' said McDowell after the Irish Open, according to AFP. 'There's been an overwhelming vote of success from all the players with regards to the golf course and they've loved it.'
The Irish Open became the first regular European Tour event in its history to sell out all four tournament days. Over 130,000 people attended the tournament, according to organizers.
The Dunluce links is the only course outside of Scotland and England ever to have hosted the Open, doing so in 1951. The infrastructure required to host a major has grown exponentially in the last 61 years.
The Ulsterman McDowell knows the British Open is a larger tournament in every way - crowds, expectations and corporate partners – than the Irish Open. He feels Portrush and the entire country could support it.
'Yes, the British Open is bigger than the Irish Open, of course,' he said. 'It's just such a big machine, a beast, but I feel we can handle that now and we've proved our case for that.'