• Open Championship

Clarke wants Northern Ireland to host the Open

ESPN staff
July 18, 2011

Darren Clarke has urged the R&A to "find a way" to take the Open Championship back to Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland, with the newly-crowned champion insisting the Links course is "one of the best in the world".

Clarke is basking in the glory of Sunday's three-shot victory at Sandwich, where the 42-year-old held his nerve to win his first major in his 20th Open. His sensational victory saw him join compatriots Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell in winning one of the four most prestigious tournaments in the world for the first time in the last year.

As Northern Ireland continues to be associated with major winners, the clamour for the Open Championship to return to the country is ever growing. Royal Portrush staged the event in 1951 - the only time to date in the tournament's history it has been held outside England or Scotland.

Royal Lytham & St Annes plays host next year but Clarke is hopeful the Open will return to the course on the North Antrim coast at some point in the future.

"The R&A have looked it from a logistical point of view and right now it doesn't quite fit into their criteria," he told Sky Sports News. "At some stage in the future maybe they may take a look at things to find a way where it may get back into the Open rota.

"From a personal point of view I hope that does happen because Royal Portrush is one of the finest Links courses in the world never mind the UK. I really do hope it happens at some stage."

Clarke, meanwhile, is enjoying letting his hair down after his thrilling triumph. He said: "We had a very good time, we've been partying all night and we probably will for the next couple of days. I haven't been to bed yet."

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