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Portrush is a rare chance to see our champions

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Iain Carter | 22:36 UK time, Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Unprecedented emails have been dropping into the inbox as the European Tour has been announcing sell out crowds for this week's Irish Open.

This is far from the norm in tour golf. Outside the Ryder Cup there is little need to pre-book your attendance at tournaments other than to secure a discount on your ticket.

But the astonishing success of Irish golfers in recent years has prompted extraordinary interest in a tournament that was close to being non-existent until new funding was found to help stage the event at the magnificent links of Royal Portrush.

And quite right too. The major wins of Rory McIlroy (2011 US Open), Graeme McDowell (2010 US Open) and Darren Clarke (last year's Open) have provided a glorious return for Northern Ireland from golf's biggest stages.

Those successes have followed hard on the heels of Padraig Harrington's domination of the Open in 2008 and a year later when he went on to claim a third major with victory in the US PGA.

Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell

McIlroy, Clarke and McDowell could attract more than 100,000 spectators this weekend. Photo: Getty

It has been an extraordinary period of success for the emerald isle that shows no sign of abating. Only last Saturday Alan Dunbar claimed the Amateur Championship to bring further glory.

So it is little wonder that play at Portrush on Friday, Saturday and Sunday have become sell out events. More than 100,000 fans are expected to watch the tournament with a limit of 27,000 spectators each day.

"This has exceeded all expectations," admits Tournament Director Antonia Beggs. Extra trains are being put on and transport plans have been put into place to cope with the demands of what has now become a major event.

Could this pave the way for a major tournament, namely the Open, to return to Portrush? Well this certainly constitutes an excellent test of infrastructure and officials from the R and A will be most interested this week.

There can be no doubting interest levels but the step up from the Irish Open to THE Open is huge. Don't expect an immediate nod from the St Andrews bosses, they will need many more assurances than a successful tournament this week.

What has already been proven, though, is that fans will react positively to success at the highest level. They want to celebrate the successes of McIlroy, McDowell and Clarke.

It is refreshing to see that the opportunity to capitalise on their triumphs is not being squandered. This is the danger in England, where there is only the BMW Championship outside the Open staged in the country.

Then again, the English trailblazers Luke Donald and Lee Westwood still have to land their first major. If they are able to emulate their Irish rivals then the need for another event in England will become even more acute.

Capitalising on success is crucial and such opportunity can often be limited by circumstance. Two British women have enjoyed stunning wins of late that really should have resonated more than they did.

Scotland's Carly Booth has gone to the top of the Ladies European Tour money list with victory at the Swiss Open. But despite claiming her second LET title of the year, the 20-year-old was overshadowed last Sunday when England's Melissa Reid claimed the Prague Masters.
Reid was playing for the first time since her mother Joy died in a car crash in Munich ahead of May's German Masters. Joy Reid had been an irrepressible and ever present force in the development of her daughter's blossoming career.

In what has to be one of the most extraordinary of sporting achievements, Reid found a way to win on her return to a scene where her mother had been such an important and popular influence.

She holed a six-foot putt to triumph on the final green, which prompted her Solheim Cup teammate Sophie Gustafson to tweet congratulations and describe Reid as "a legend".

Reid immediately put her achievement into a human context. "To be honest I wasn't that nervous," she said of her winning putt. "I think with what's happened to my family and me over the last four weeks, nothing seems really that difficult anymore."

Not that this is of any great consequence to Reid at the moment, but the difficulty for women's golf is commanding the attention it deserves. She and Booth are among the leading sportswomen in the country but they remain relatively anonymous at the moment.

It would be nice to think that might change were either to win a major. Both might well be capable in future years and if they are, let's hope such a success would command appropriate attention.

That's certainly the case in Northern Ireland this week as they put on a magnificent showcase of the beneficial effects of world-beating golf.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Is this the Northern Irish Open or the Irish Open? Last time I checked Padraig Harrington was Irish too.

  • Comment number 2.

    Ridiculous comment above.

  • Comment number 3.

    Surprised the Irish Open isn't being called the UK Open by journalists desperate to claim success. Irish golfers have character, class and a range of shots that the English robots(westie and luuuuk) could only dream about. I look forward to another decade of dominance from the men of the emerald isle.
    2000 - Present: Ireland 6 - Great Britain 0

  • Comment number 4.

    Typical of my countrymen, any excuse to turn this political, shameful comments from #1 and #3.....get over it already, as the yanks would say.

    Very good article Iain, thanks for the update on the ladies, well deserving of a few paragraphs.

    Dodgy picture though, did you get them in the WC?

  • Comment number 5.

    Hope it blows an absolute gale and approximates the conditions in which I played the famous links a few times 3 years ago during a memorable golfing holiday in NI. Looking forward to seeing G Mac and the boys et al struggle in the same conditions that saw me (single figures) struggle to "beat a Bradman" off the friendly members tees …

  • Comment number 6.

    Having played Portrush on a number of occasions it is amazing that it is finally getting the chance to be showcased. It is a fantastic test of golf and the boys this week must find the fairway. Anyone watching it shouldn't be surprised to see some fun on the first when the pin is at the front of the green. All I will say is, watch out for backspin!

    Hopefully the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. The 5th, 6th and 14th are spectacular. My only regret is I will be watching it on TV as I have moved to the states for a year!

    Particularly comment number 1 - shut up. Iain mentions Padraig but I think the driving force behind the Irish Open happening this year has come from the Ulstermen. 3 Major winners, (to my knowledge) an Ulster based company providing the prize fund and the Northern Ireland government backing the event up with a couple of million.

  • Comment number 7.

    Sneaky late Blog post by Mr Carter. Did play go on late at Wimbledon ;-)

    It must be amazing for a ET event to completely sell out. The WHOLE of Ireland must be anticipating this. With at least 5 Major winners in the field and a fantastic golf course it should be good.

    It's a pity that sponsors of any sort (govt or private) cannot be found for England as I'm sure the crowds would also be big for an event.

    Well done to Melissa Ried. Excellent win in what must be difficult circumstances. Though her and Carly Booth wil have to go some to beat the Far East contingent at a Major.

  • Comment number 8.

    @3 NtN... Last time I looked at a map Northern Ireland was part of GB. So doesn't that make the score 3-3 ? If you're going to try and stir up political debate then at least get the facts right.

  • Comment number 9.

    I think that this weeks event is a great showcase for Portrush and a great way to celebrate the successes of three of the UK's most popular players, and Padraig for that matter.

    I hope the blog doesnt descend into arguments about the semantics of what technically constitutes British, or being from the United Kingdom, and similarly i hope that it doesnt descend into some kind of pathetic England vs Ireland rivalry.

  • Comment number 10.

    Comment 1 is the most ridiculous blog comment i have ever read. And i should know as i write a lot of nonsense.
    I've played Portrush and its a class Golf Course. I heard Ian Ulster will be there.

  • Comment number 11.

    This has nothing to with Ireland, Britain, North or South,this is a sporting event. All golf played in Ireland, North or South is played under the Golfing Union of Ireland. Keep your polictical views to yourselves and let sport do some talking for a change. Good luck to all the players and spectators. Have a nice weekend on the North coast.

  • Comment number 12.

    @3 : So since Northern Ireland and GB are soooo distant and different, then the British Open should never go there, right?
    Stop being so pathetic bringing up the country debate every time.

    @8: NI is actually part of the UK, not GB ;)

    As for the golf, which is actually more interesting, good point about the LET Iain, after the Solheim one would have hoped that it more attention... Shame really.

  • Comment number 13.

    An early morning political skirmish... how very childish. All been put in it's place and rightly so.
    I'm in Ireland next week so it will be interesting to read and hear the thoughts on how the country reacted from the horses mouth so to speak. I'll, of course, watch as much of the play as possible on the TV but I'm sure the atmosphere will be excellent and has been said the Irish golfers are in good form which can only inspire the crowds.
    I think Rory is due a good showing but if he does contend it might make his comments after St George's appear even more like sour grapes.

    Wibb - I think it's fair to say that Mr Carter was well into his umpteenth Wimbledon Pimms (other beverages available) when it dawned that his legion of bloggers were facing an 'empty' week and he threw out a blog to ensure the Samaritans weren't rushed off their feet this week!

  • Comment number 14.

    #12

    Absolutely agree with your sentiment, but only the Americans call it the British Open - its The Open - originality has its benefits!

  • Comment number 15.

    @13 CFC...At least the Blog may be open when the golf is actually on and therefore we can actually comment on that as well. After all it is a golf Blog. I can never understand why it just doesn't stay open until the next one ?

    I hope that the tv pictures (Sky, presumably) does the course justice. Because the US coverage is pants.

  • Comment number 16.

    Number 8; If I were you, I would buy a new atlas. Of course NI isn't part of Great Britain! Why do you think it says 'The United Kingdom of Great Britain AND Northern Ireland' on the front of your passport? Or have you never been overseas? Ireland 6 GB 0.

  • Comment number 17.

    It was great to see GMac do so well at the US Open but a shame that Rory didn't make a better fist of it, but it was a punishing course.
    However it's fantastic to see these three players participating and it's hardly any surprise that it has become as big a draw as ticket sales suggest.
    I've consistently heard what a great course Royal Portrush is so it should be a great showcase for the game.
    Agree with comment about picture, Rory looks like he's just been told that his car's been clamped!

  • Comment number 18.

    #16... alternatively, Ireland 6 Nick Faldo 6 if you need any more ridiculous input!
    Alan - there's ways and means of pointing out a valid mistake or over-sight but just being rude isn't one of them.

  • Comment number 19.

    @16 AS....I was using GB as the general term for the UK. (reference the Athletics anyone ??)
    Apologies (and to @ 12). And I thought I could be a stickler sometimes ;-)
    So surely the score should be Ireland 3, Northern Ireland 3 and GB 0 ??

  • Comment number 20.

    Forgot to say earlier... as an Englishman who likes to travel I would probably choose Ireland over any other destination for a golfing break (if I had the money). I've been lucky to play in the South but have it on my bucket-list to play the North as soon as the opportunity presents!
    Some of today's bloggers apart the Irish are incredibly hospitable and it is a beautiful country from what little I have seen. If the golf matches up to this then I cannot wait to sample some of the course... perhaps on a BBC-sponsored golf day (or days)!

  • Comment number 21.

    What about a sneaky mention for Willett? otherwise great blog again Iain.

    Some of the boys over the pond must be gettign a bit hot under the collar, especially when the greatest monarch ever to live is gracing their pleasant lands with her presence - have a half pint of guinness (pint might send you over the edge) and calm down dear, its only a golf blog!!

    Looking forward to seeing the action at Portrush, hope they put on a spectacular show so that we can get THE open across there in the near future. Great work from all the Irish boys in drumming up publicity with their major wins.

  • Comment number 22.

    21 @ YB...Are they still not playing the 18th ???

  • Comment number 23.

    @18 - Sadly being rude is always the 1st recourse to Idiot behind the keyboard with the chip on their shoulder. Reasoned debate takes a back seat when you can be a prett with no resultant consequences

  • Comment number 24.

    hi there chelsea [#20]...hope you're well...i LOVE links golf and i'm hard pushed to choose between my fave 3...birkdale, ballybunion, royal county down...at all costs, get yourself over to rcd...it'll blow you away!

    ps...i won't mention the football!

  • Comment number 25.

    Mel Reid is a pleasure to watch.........and I enjoy her golf swing as well :o)

  • Comment number 26.

    The last time I was in NI I played Portstewart (the strand) and a famous blogger on here hit a hole in one on the par 3 third hole. Ian Ulster was there.

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    #24 Hi kid... what football? Are you still referring to that 'special' night in Munich? Oh Sunday... well I didn't go and probably just as well. Although if I'd taken my boots, you never now...
    At least we share a love for Links golf... I was born and bred by the sea so I have a huge affinity to the sea (not in a Reggie Perrin way of course) and since I've been playing golf the coastal courses just hold an allure like no other.
    I'm sure I'll play NI one day but in terms of Links I'd say I've been lucky to play Birkdale, Royal Lytham, Hillside etc but also other gems like Silloth, Seacroft (Skegness), Bridlington, West Lancs, North Wales... and on and on.

    YB - with you there re Willet... more tattoos on the golf course, required! In fact let's ban smoking but encourage tattoos...

  • Comment number 29.

    Hi all. Hope you guys are having a great week. Take care.

  • Comment number 30.

    Very good Iain,
    One lady you haven't mentioned is Karen Stupples and I'd think she'll be a rock for Alison Nicholas this week. It's not fashionable for the British Press to mention her, but she's as consistent as almost anyone on the LPGA Tour.
    A little bit of needle between the two teams suggested in the US Press, especially directed to the Kim and Wie camps. Good!

  • Comment number 31.

    also....does anyone else think Laura Davies ( Women golfs Monty ) also looks a bit like Monty as well!?

  • Comment number 32.

    #31... micky - have you ever seen them both in the same room?

  • Comment number 33.

    Does anybody else think that spoilt little child Mcilroy will disgrace himself again at this years Irish Open like he did last year??
    McIlroy showed his temperamental side after blowing an early lead and double-bogeying the 18th hole, telling the TV commentator to "shut up."
    I remember it well after shooting a 1-under 70 to trail leader Jeev Milkha Singh by seven shots, McIlroy fired off a series of abuse to the Twitter account of American analyst and former pro Jay Townsend he said "Shut up. You're a commentator and a failed golfer, your opinion means nothing!" Disgraceful behaviour! He should have been banned!!

  • Comment number 34.

    Heading up tom with waterproofs handy! As for all u complete space cadets trying to stir up sectarian rubbish, why dont u all get together in a big field and shoot each other, u offer nothing but hatred! u can all burn in hell, i hope u do !

  • Comment number 35.

    chelsea...did you miss my previous reference to being italian?!...no wish to rub it in but england were woeful the other night and you were simply outclassed...i was worried, though...thought england were gonna do a chelsea on us and nick it on pens

    more importantly, we have some stunning courses in italy that are the best kept secrets in euro golf...well worth a visit some time...we don't have anything that's pure links but some stunning inland courses...the best bit, though, is the catering you'll enjoy in the clubhouses...food to die for!

    would LOVE to see manassero make the ryder 12 but i think he'll come up a little short this time around...watch him for the future, though!

  • Comment number 36.

    Cant to wait to see if Keegan Bradley can handle the north coast weather! Its no peeble beach !

  • Comment number 37.

    St Anne's Old Links too... excellent track!

  • Comment number 38.

    @ Jimmy......Since we have 24 hrs less than normal....

    Thoughts for this week are

    Irish Open : P Harrington, R McIlroy, S Lowry

    AT & T : JB Holmes, T Woods, A Scott

  • Comment number 39.

    Same cup size Mickey :)

  • Comment number 40.

    Lets hope McIlroy makes a decent fist of this one and puts in a serious challenge for the trophy. Despite all the hype surrounding him (justified), he has yet to win as a professional in continental Europe - gearing your season around the Majors is fine (though not that successful this year), but don't forget the bread & butter events.

    I've played the course several times and there are some fantastic holes. I concur with the previous comment re the 1st - expect to see a few putting off the greens. My money is on McDowell as you must hit the fairways. And watch out for one of the biggest bunkers you will ever see - to the the right of the 17th fairway, though possibly not in play depending on which tee is used.

  • Comment number 41.

    @bilo - Ian Ulster will definatly be there, he has just confirmed.

  • Comment number 42.

    No kid... I'm well aware of you're 'heritage' - just chose to ignore the fact and that the Italians spoiled the occasion when England clearly came to attack and 'your' defensive mind-set stifled what could ahve been a glorious night for the all conquering English! I mean - how rubbish is that Pirlo...?
    Agree - think Manassero will come up short.
    I played once on Italy - many years ago I was visiting ellesse in Perugia but we played somewhere in/near Rome... remember lots water and presumably some lost balls! Very picturesque, as you say!

  • Comment number 43.

    # 28

    CFC - one of the best links courses I have played are on the east coast - lovely course in Embleton is just stunning views and extremely tough when the wind blows - played there with a PGA pro who got courtesy of the course so bought us breakfast!

    I am up at Slaley Hall this weekend (not links I know) but I love that part of the world.

    Italy will get thumped by Germany, they will be too tired after being run ragged by an unfortunate England team who deserved to win by a stretch. Balotelli who?

  • Comment number 44.

    I've just come back from Italy, Hated it, the food was awful, the people were obnoxious and nobody acknowledge Lee Weswood as the finest golfer on the face of the earth. I was appaled.

    Incidentally I thought it was a great story about Ried winning this week (The back story to it clearly isnt great) however i generally dont have any interest in Womans golf, why? Because i dont really know too much about the players, the characters, the rivalries etc like i do in the mens game. Why? Because it doesnt receive the coverage. Its therefore a catch 22 situation whereby i have no desire for more coverage precisely because there is no coverage. I dont expect that situation to change.

  • Comment number 45.

    chelsea...you were visiting ellesse?...maybe we have more in common than just a love of links golf!...i used to be in the sporting rag trade and did loads of business with ellesse [and fila, sergio tacchini, kappa, cerruti et al]

    yorkshire...thanks for that!

  • Comment number 46.

    jimmy...thanks for your kind words, too!

  • Comment number 47.

    2ironkid

    in all honesty though, I do hope you go on and win the tournament, not because I think your team is capable or worthy, especially after being outplayed by messrs rooney & co for 2 hours, BUT because I punted on them at 18/1 which I though was a silly price even for a team who can't even make a proper pizza.

    ;)

  • Comment number 48.

    CFC lets just say they both have the same set of balls ;0

  • Comment number 49.

    One more big sleep ....... and it will be in Portrush tonight. Boys, I can't wait for tomorrow to start - it's like my birthday and Christmas come all together. My kids bought me a four day ticket for my birthday for the princely sum of £60. And yes, I did say £60 for four days watching the finest players on one of the world's finest courses. Throw in an all day grandstand ticket for a tenner and I'm all set for nirvana! The weather forecast is lousy but who gives a fiddle - it will certainly sort out the men from the boys and we will see how young Rors copes with it.

    The stupidity in post #1 is unbelievable as I will mix with my brothers and sisters from all over these islands and further afield while we enjoy this marvelous spectacle.

    Hopefully I'll get out to play the Old Course in Portstewart over the weekend as I'd hate to miss the chance to play as well.

    GBELL - how could you? America rather than the Irish Open? Silly choice. Lol

    CFCBOY - Where are you next week? Pity you couldn't have come over early.

    P.S. What happened with the rematch last week? Has Manina been found yet?

  • Comment number 50.

    @ Sumo82, yes great news, i have just heard on the Radio that Ian Ulster has confirmed his attendance this year.
    @ mickysausage, some excellent points there. Well said.

  • Comment number 51.

    yorkshire...i guess you just can't bring yourself to say anything half-decent about the 'azzurri'...that's ok...we'll just continue to carry 4 stars on our shirts!

    18/1 eh?...wish i'd had some of that!

  • Comment number 52.

    Rory's comments about Jay Townsend were spot on.....but he'll learn that a public slanging match isn't the way to go.

    Royal Portrush is a great course, just hope it's not too short. It really needs to be windy or else they could rip it apart which wouldn't be fair for the old lady!

    Most memorable hole is 14 aka "Calamity"

  • Comment number 53.

    #14

    Originally the tournament was called ‘The Championship’ and now the official title is The Open Championship but since the Claret Jug predates the rebranding exercise the word Open doen’t feature on the current trophy at all….

  • Comment number 54.

    # 51

    you have a maestro in midfield, and in fairness you should have beaten Spain you outplayed them for half the game. attacking you are prudent but penetrating, however you defensive lapses against the average all-star cast of England may just catch you out against the more potent Germans.

    However, sitting on 18/1 I will be sat with a Peroni, a pizza, and a "why always me t-shirt" cheering you on all the way.

    In other news, Portugal 7/2 to win against Spain???? I'll have some of that, rampant Portugese against 11 defensive midfielders? EEEEAAASSSYYYYY

    (sorry back to golf now I promise)

  • Comment number 55.

    yorkshire...thank you...that's better!...agree with all of your summary

    go easy on the peroni and make sure your pizza is out of a wood-fired oven!...enjoy!

  • Comment number 56.

    Er - the golfers are wearing back ties - Is it a funeral?

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    ps...you can still get 14/1 on italy to beat portugal in the final...worth a couple of shillings, maybe!

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    @ davitpol12 there is more chance of John Hawksworth winning the Irish Open than me opening that link.

  • Comment number 61.

    3 cheers for jeffkenna by the way. great win last week.

  • Comment number 62.

    Hope everyone that attends the golf in Portrush (especially the visitors from mainland Britain) really enjoy themselves. Should be a brilliant tournament on a very challenging but beautiful course!!The people here are very proud that such a prestigious event should come to NI..... My only worry?? The small town of Portrush itself, not the best im afraid to say!! For any one visiting i wouldnt be spending much time there afterwards.. much better to head back to Belfast. Enjoy!!

  • Comment number 63.

    On the subject of the ladies Iain - great that you are including them in the blog. It must be difficult when there are weeks with a few headline issues that are worthy of comment but you have to plump for one for the blog.
    Carly and Melissa have played some great golf and deserve the publicity. I personally think Melissa's win is amazing given what she has been through recently.

  • Comment number 64.

    Richard Keys is to football, what Don247 is to this blog.....
    A nice guy who knows his onions about his chosen sport..... but also has a brooding, dark, sinister side.
    (BiloMcT is Andy Gray)

    Sportmadgav - Let Rors go, he has turned his back on Ireland and good nature(ism)
    he is now a corporate puppet who'd rather be the face of subway than Norm iron golf. Join the dark side with Don247 and stop trying to defend the indefensable.

    davitpol12 - you should be locked up

  • Comment number 65.

    davitpol12 - You need to have a long hard look at yourself in the mirror, and make some crucial decisions on whether you should hand yourself a self imposed ban.

  • Comment number 66.

    Its that time :

    PICKS:

    Northern Irish Open: GMac, Harrington, Bradley

    AT&T: Woods, Mahan, Choi

  • Comment number 67.

    #53

    I stand corrected! Still the Britsh Open just grates a little with me....

  • Comment number 68.

    If the weather is rough this weekend Paul Lawrie will take some beating ....

  • Comment number 69.

    Just heard the latest interview from Ian Ulster, he says the course is in superb condition and if the wind blows this week he expects only about 8 under to win.

  • Comment number 70.

    I've been away for a while so i'll need to pick up some pace on the prediction league......

    My picks

    Irish - McDowell, colsearts, P lawrie

    AT&T - Woods, Mahan, D Johnson

  • Comment number 71.

    My Picks

    AT&T - JB Holmes, Laird and Woods (Just to sweeten the pill if he does win)
    Irish Open - Harrington, Mcdowell and Lowry

  • Comment number 72.

    Irish Open: Shane Lowry, Paul Lawrie, GMac
    AT&T: Dustin Johnson, Tiger, Nick Watney

  • Comment number 73.

    Sumo... you may need to state your Peter from your Paul!

  • Comment number 74.

    @73 - haha........ sorry, Paul.

    I fancy Paul Lawrie as a cheeky outsider for The Open as well.

  • Comment number 75.

    What do u mean Shawso Portrush has state of the art entertainment , Barrys is bang uptodate with the latest machines and rides, some compare it to Disney World Florida, Whilst Ramore Wine bar achieved its 3rd Mitchelin star last yr

  • Comment number 76.

    3.
    At 02:43 27th Jun 2012, NedTheNoodler wrote:

    2000 - Present: Ireland 6 - Great Britain 0

    Shouldn`t that read

    2000 - Present: Ireland 3 - Great Britain 3

    As McDowell, Clarke and McIlroy were all born in Northern Ireland, which is under British rule?

    Don`t get me wrong i would prefer if they would be recognised as Northern Irish rather than either British or Irish, as being a very small country we are immensely proud of their achievements.

    I believe what Harrington has done is an equally impressive acheivement for the Republic of Ireland, and i do wonder what has held our counterparts across the water back from also winning majors??

  • Comment number 77.

    Hello friends :)

    I see many have chosen Woods. He won't win. You want to know who will?

  • Comment number 78.

    Jbeattie02,

    While Northern Irish players are 'British', NI is not part of GB - as already stated, it is the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland'.

    Without going all political, it is worth noting that golf in Ireland is organised on an all-Ireland basis, similar to rugby union. It transcends political and legal boundaries. You having local golf feeding into provincial level (Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connaught), up to All-Ireland. So when referrring to 'Irish Golf', it takes in the whole of the island.

    Rory, G-mac & DC fall into a unique position in that they represent Irish golf (as does Paddy H of course) but are also British by birth.

  • Comment number 79.

    I was trying to avoid getting into anything political while also stating that we are proud of them being Northern Irish, and i feel it is a shame that most reporters fail to mention this.

  • Comment number 80.

    yes, quite agree - my bugbear is that most reporters (esp BBC) refer to ROI as 'Ireland'. It most certainly is not.

  • Comment number 81.

    "Those successes have followed hard on the heels of Padraig Harrington's domination of the Open in 2008 and a year later when he went on to claim a third major with victory in the US PGA."

    Wasn't it 3 weeks later when he went on to win the US PGA??
    Shoddy.. ;-)

  • Comment number 82.

    Whoa! Just spotted all the Irish, British, Ulster, NI, UK, GB&NI, GUI BS. Not surprising really but sad all the same. It's the Irish Open that's all.

  • Comment number 83.

    @79 - I think they are quite often referred to as Ulstermen, or Northern Irishmen and i think much has been made of the fact that 3 major champions in the space of 2 years have come from Northern Ireland. And rightly so. However I dont think that the golfing press have been slow in recognising where they hail from, quite the reverse.

    What i dont understand is the need to Pigeonhole these 3 players under one identity and then claim their acheivements for that one identity. The are Irish (Insofar as they hail from the Island or Ireland, if not strictly speaking by nationality), They are British, They are Northern Irish, and they are Ultermen. All 4 have different slightly different connotations however they are not mutually exclusive.

  • Comment number 84.

    F_M, not sad, just the unique position that NI occupies!

    And you're quite right 2007 (Open), 2008 (Open, USPGA) - why, oh why mess with your swing after that?! Should have added a couple more and maybe become the first golfer to since Ray Floyd (or Tom Watson - can't remember which) to win 3 different majors, other TW of course

  • Comment number 85.

    #77 GB... please enlighten us! For the record, I do not expect Tiger to win... my selections are for Tiger to come third behind Dustin Johnson who was narrowly beaten by a successfully defending Watney!
    So I agree - Woods won't win... but if he does then happy days or 10 points.

    Trev - Belfast Weds pm is probably where I'll definitely be... are you close by? Mind... I may head to Portrush as I'm liking biscuit's very visual decription of said mecca!

  • Comment number 86.

    We do occupy an odd position in the world, and quite often while meaning no offence it can be hard to pick which title to use for each.
    The group of DC, Rory and G-mac are from Ulster, N. Ireland, The Island of Ireland and British all at the same time.
    Padraig is exclusively Irish (i.e from the Republic of Ireland).

    I am certain should Luke Donald or Lee Westwood win a major their English fans would prefer they were referred to as English rather than British, same as if any of the Scots won.

    We all have a right to be fiercely proud of our own nationality.

    In no way have i intended to cause anyone any offence, my point is i am proud that these 3 men have come from the same little part of the world as myself.
    Our wee country as the football fans refer to it

  • Comment number 87.

    has anyone heard the latest reporting from Ian Ulster? I missed it on the radio there at 2 o'clock. He was doing an inspection of the greens this morning and said he'd report on the next press release

  • Comment number 88.

    well done to mattefc who got a straight flush to beat daveyboyfletchers 4 kings last night playing cards. Great hand it was

  • Comment number 89.

    the boys in the photo look like they are being photographed in the toilets lol!

  • Comment number 90.

    £5 each way on Darren Clarke,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, to down a pint of Guinness in under 0.3 seconds

  • Comment number 91.

    CFCboy - I'm belfast based. Got an on-line webinar at 2.00 but about after 4.00.

  • Comment number 92.

    Off work today,tomorrow and Sunday so really looking forward to the start and finish of the Irish Open. Hope it's high winds or the field will burn up the course.
    Picks are
    Irish Open Gmac, Padraig Harington and Paul Lawrie
    AT and T Tiger Woods, Hunter Mahan and JB Holmes

  • Comment number 93.

    Incidentally I was tootling around the BBC footy blogs this week and came across BMG. is he trying to become the complete blog master in all sports. Plenty of scope there to get first poster status. their blogs run into the thousands with dozens of new pages. We really must try harder

  • Comment number 94.

    I would like to hear what Ian Ulster has to say on these outrageous acusations!!!

  • Comment number 95.

    # 93

    Iain Carter told me he is not allowed to organise a golf day until we get to 1000 posts - and they can't be inane ramblings it has to be coherent and competent conversation.

  • Comment number 96.

    #93 WCIHIS... yes BMG announced he was moving the whole family to 'football' this year as he felt it represented a better chance of achieving a blog-slam/major.
    He has retained his card for the 'golf' blog tour and will divide his time where appropriate but for the time being he will be basing himself in 'football' until he is rightly recognized as the best blogger in the world.

  • Comment number 97.

    As if...

  • Comment number 98.

    ... we would...

  • Comment number 99.

    ... resort to...

  • Comment number 100.

    ... inane ramblings!

 

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