PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND | What if, after 68 empty and often angry years, the takeaway from this Open Championship at Royal Portrush is a simple one:
When will it happen again?
Before the first official shot is struck in this championship – appropriately hit by Darren Clarke, one of the patron saints of Irish and Northern Irish golf along with Pádraig Harrington, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell – there’s an undeniable feeling that the Open Championship has rediscovered an abandoned treasure.
Already, two more Opens have been promised to Portrush, although the years are not yet locked into place.
There were reasons for the Open’s absence, of course, the most serious being the turbulence that tormented this otherwise enchanting corner of the world for decades. The hateful edge has softened, though the locals will tell you old grudges linger, and there is a joy about the place this week and not just because a Ferris wheel is visible from the golf course.
“To see them being as brave as they have been to bring it up here ...
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