Portmarnock Golf Club in Dublin is to seek support from the Irish government for a potential bid to host the Open Championship for what would be the major tournament’s first staging outside the UK.
The club has had informal engagement with tournament organisers, The Royal and Ancient, about using the course as a future venue for both the Open and Women’s Open.
Portmarnock has played host to both the Walker Cup and men’s Amateur Championship in the past and will be the venue for the Women’s Amateur Championship next year.
Last month, Holywood star Rory McIlroy said an Open in the Republic of Ireland would be “amazing”.
The tournament’s return to Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland was viewed as a huge success by The R&A and the Open will again be played at the north coast venue in 2025.
South of the border, Lahinch in Co Clare will stage the Walker Cup in 2026 and the following year the Ryder Cup will be played at Adare Manor in Co Limerick.
Portmarnock captain Niall Goulding said he was excited about the opportunity to host major championship golf.
“The club has had informal contact with The R&A regarding the possibility of hosting the AIG Women’s Open and The Open at Portmarnock in the coming years,” he said.
“Without a detailed survey, it is not possible to verify the ability of the property to act as host to a major championship, given the significant infrastructural requirements of such an event.
“The club has determined that government support would be critical for a project of this magnitude and, consequently, will now approach the relevant government authorities to establish their position on providing support for a formal application by Portmarnock to The R&A to host a major championship.”
“We also work with Golf Ireland as the national body throughout the island of Ireland. We would like to investigate the possibility of taking our professional championships to Portmarnock as well.
“Portmarnock is undoubtedly one of the world’s outstanding links courses and we believe there is the potential to host our major championships there but it is essential that a full evaluation is carried out to assess whether it is feasible and what would be required to make it happen.”
A joint statement by Irish Sports Minister Catherine Martin and minister of state for sport Thomas Byrne welcomed the development.
“We welcome today’s announcement that there has been contact between Portmarnock Golf Club and the R&A regarding a possible future hosting of The Open and the Women’s Open,” said the ministers.
“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.
“The Open is the most iconic of all the golf majors and its hosting in Portrush in 2019 was a tremendous success. 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.
“Our department has supported the hosting of a range of major events across a number of sports, including golf, and the hosting of the 2027 Ryder Cup at Adare Manor in Limerick will be especially significant.
“The department assesses each request for support to a major event on its own merits. In particular, it is imperative to ensure that economic, participation and sports benefits are derived from any state investment. Should a request for such support be received from Portmarnock Golf Club we will ask our officials to engage positively with such a request.”
Golf Ireland’s chief executive, Mark Kennelly, said hosting major events at Portmarnock would be a significant boost for Irish golf.
“Portmarnock is steeped in history and golfing tradition and we welcome their initiative to potentially host the AIG Women’s Open and The Open,” he said.
“This aligns with our vision to amplify Ireland’s footprint in international golf, building upon our successful hosting of prominent tournaments like The Open and the Ryder Cup.
“We are eagerly anticipating more global golf events coming to Ireland in the future.”