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Irish Open: Portrush passes its biggest test

By Peter Hutcheon

Published 04/07/2012

FLASHBACK TO 2012: Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy plays on the 17th during day four of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush
FLASHBACK TO 2012: Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy plays on the 17th during day four of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 01: Jamie Donaldson of Wales celebrates with the trophy after winning the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 1, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
The final day of the Irish Open golf at Royal Portrush Golf Club. Rory McIlroy on the 17th
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 01: Jamie Donaldson of Wales holds the trophy with Minister Arlene Foster The Tourism Minister of the Northern Ireland Executive during the final round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 1, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 01: Mikael Lundberg of Sweden plays his second shot at the 17th hole during the final round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 1, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 01: Paul Waring (R) of England smiles after he hits his tee shot on the 3rd hole during the Final Round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 1, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 01: Ross Fisher of England just misses for a par at the par 5, 17th hole during the final round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 1, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 01: Padraig Harrington of Ireland hits his tee shot on the 16th hole during the Final Round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 1, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 01: Padraig Harrington of Ireland hits his tee shot on the 14th hole during the Final Round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 1, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 01: Jamie Donaldson of Wales hugs his caddie Craig Connelly of Scotland after he had holed a birdie putt at the 18th hole to secure his first European Tour win during the final round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 1, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 01: Jamie Donaldson of Wales putts on the 17th green during the Final Round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 1, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 01: Jamie Donaldson (C) of Wales celebrates with the trophy as poses with the green staff after winning the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 1, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 01: Jamie Donaldson of Wales celebrates after winning the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 1, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 01: Padraig Harrington of Ireland lines up his putt on the 2nd green during the Final Round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 1, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 01: Mikko Ilonen of Finland looks on after he hits his tee shot on the 1st hole during the Final Round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 1, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 01: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland takes and misses his putt on the 1st green during the Final Round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 1, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 30: Jamie Donaldson of Wales hits his tee shot on the 14th hole during Day Three of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 30, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 30: Padraig Harrington of Ireland putts and sinks his birdie on the 14th hole during Day Three of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 30, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 30: Padraig Harrington of Ireland hits his tee shot on the 15th hole during Day Three of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 30, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 30: A view of the McIlroy game on the green at the par 4, 5th hole during the third round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 30, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
The final day of the Irish Open golf at Royal Portrush Golf Club. Rory McIlroy drives down the fairway of the 18th
Day three of the Irish Open, Royal Portrush Colf Club. Darren Clarke has a drink on the 1st tee box
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 30: Shane Lowry of Ireland plays his third shot at the first hole during the third round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 30, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 30: Fans in the rain, some holding umbrellas wait on the 1st hole tee during Day Three of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 30, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 30: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland during the third round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 30, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 30: Shane Lowry of Ireland plays his third shot at the first hole during the third round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 30, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
Day three of the Irish Open, Royal Portrush Colf Club. Rory McIlroy on the 1st hole
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 30: Paul McGinley of Ireland plays his second shot at the first hole during the third round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 30, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 30: Steven O'Hara of Scotland hits his tee shot on the 1st hole during Day Three of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 30, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 30: Fans in the rain, some holding umbrellas walk near the 1st hole tee during Day Three of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 30, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 30: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays his second shot at the first hole during the third round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 30, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 30: Fans in the rain, some holding umbrellas walk near the 1st hole tee during Day Three of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 30, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
2012 Irish Open Pro Am at Royal Portrush. Day two - Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell on the 13th green
The second day of the Irish Open in Portrush. Bill Murray who was following Graeme McDowell
2012 Irish Open at Royal Portrush. Day two - John Daly on the 14th tee
Day Two of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 28, 2012 in Portrush. Rory McIlroy
The second day of the Irish Open in Portrush. Bill Murray who was following Graeme McDowell
The second day of the Irish Open in Portrush
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 29: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland tees off at the 5th hole during the second round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 29, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 29: Mikael Lundberg of Sweden plays his second shot at the 17th hole during the second round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 29, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 29: American actor, Bill Murray signs autographs for the fans after his round during Day Two of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 29, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 29: Michael Jonzon of Sweden hits his third shot on the 9th hole during Day Two of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 29, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 29: Graeme McDowell of Ireland plays his second shot on the par 4, 18th hole during the second round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 29, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
2012 Irish Open, Day two. Bill Murray watches the action
Irish Open at Royal Portrush. Day two - Michael Hoey on the 13th green
©Russell Pritchard / Presseye - 29th June 2012Day Two of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 28, 2012 in Portrush.Graeme McDowell with Hollywood movie star, Bill Murray
Day Two of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club. Graeme McDowell speaks to the media
2012 Irish Open at Royal Portrush. Day two - Graeme McDowell on the 14th tee
2012 Irish Open at Royal Portrush. Day two - Graeme McDowell on the 14th tee
2012 Irish Open at Royal Portrush. Day two - Padraig Harrington (right) with Graeme McDowell
Day two of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 28, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. Rory McIlroy
Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell during day two of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush
Ireland's Padraig Harrington (left) and Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell during day two of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush
Day two of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 28, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland
Northern Irelands' Darren Clarke on the 18th during day two of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 29: Rory McIlory of Northern Ireland plays his second shot at the 17th hole during the second round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 29, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 29: Huge galleries during the second round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 29, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 29: Padraig Harrington of Ireland plays his tee shot on the par 4, first hole during the second round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 29, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 29: Simon Dyson of England plays his second shot at the first hole during the second round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 29, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 29: Francesco Molinari of Italy tees off at the 5th hole during the second round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 29, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 29: Paul McGinley of Ireland just misses with a birdie putt on the par 4, fifth hole during the second round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 29, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 29: Rory McIlory of Northern Ireland plays his tee shot on the par 4, first hole during the second round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 29, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 29: Gregory Bourdy of France plays his second shot at the first hole during the second round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 29, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy chips during day two of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy during day two of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club
USA's Keegan Bradley during day two of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy during day two of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his tee shot on the 1st hole during Day Two of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 29, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke during day one of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy on the first tee during day one of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush
Caroline Wozniacki watches her boyfriend Rory McIlroy in action with his mother Rosie (right) during day one of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush
England's Mark Foster during day one of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush
Rory McIlroy chips onto the 10th green on day one of the 2012 Irish Open
Irish Open, Royal Portrush Colf Club. Rory McIlroy on the 11th tee box on day one
Irish Open, Royal Portrush Colf Club. Rory McIlroy's girfriend Caroline Wozniacki
Day one of the Irish Open, Royal Portrush Colf Club. Graeme McDowell
Members of the public during heavy rain at the first day of the Irish Open
Irish Open 2012 at Royal Portrush - day one. James Morrison gets a hole-in-one on the 14th hole and wins a BMW
Irish Open 2012 at Royal Portrush - day one. America's Keegan Bradley makes his way on to the first tee
The first day of the Irish Open in Portrush. Spectators watch from under umbrellas as torrential rain starts
Keegan Bradley during day one of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush
Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke during day one of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy during day one of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 28: Branden Grace of South Africa hits his tee shot on the 11th hole during Day One of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 28, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 28: Branden Grace of South Africa hits his tee shot on the 14th hole during Day One of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 28, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 28: Matteo Manassero of Italy hits his tee shot on the 14th hole during Day One of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 28, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 28: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland plays his second shot at the 17th hole during the first round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 28, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 28: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches his second shot at the 17th hole during the first round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 28, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 28: Rory McIlroy of Northern Irelands girlfriend, tennis star Caroline Wozniacki (L) and father Gerry McIlroy are pictured on the course during Day One of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 28, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 28: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his tee shot on the 11th hole during Day One of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 28, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -28th June 2012Mandatory Credit - Picture by Darren Kidd/Presseye.com 2012 Irish Open Pro Am at Royal Portrush.Caroline Wozniacki with Gerry McIlroy
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -28th June 2012Mandatory Credit - Picture by Darren Kidd/Presseye.com 2012 Irish Open Pro Am at Royal Portrush. Crowds line the fairways on the first day of the Irish open at Royal Portrush
2012 Irish Open Pro Am at Royal Portrush - day one. John Daly on the 7th
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 28: Fans watch Rory McIlroy (not in frame) of Northern Ireland on the 14th green during Day One of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 28, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 28: A view of the 16th green with the town of Portrush behind during the first round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 28, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 28: A stunning sunset lights up the 18th hole as the green is mown for the morning during the first round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 28, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
People shelter from the rain as play is suspended due to bad weather during day one of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush
Irish Open 2012 at Royal Portrush - day four. Rory McIlroy pictured on the 15th green.
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 28: Peter Robinson the First Minister of Northern Ireland (r) with Martin McGuiness the deputy First Minister beside the Open Championship Trophy belonging to Darren Clarke on the tee at the 1st hole during the first round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 28, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 28: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays his second shot at the par 5 second hole during the first round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 28, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 28: A view of the 15th green as the rain comes down during the first round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 28, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 28: Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain plays his second shot on the 16th hole during the first round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 28, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
The 2012 Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club - Rory McIlroy on the first tee on Thursday morning
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 28: A view of the 15th green as the rain comes down during the first round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 28, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy prepares to tackle the course at Royal Portrush as the 2012 Irish Open begins
Graeme McDowell meets Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and First Minister Peter Robinson
Irish Open at Royal Portrush. Padraig Harrington meets Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and First Minister Peter Robinson
The 2012 Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club. Tourism Minister Arlene Foster pictured before local golfer Graeme McDowell tees off at Royal Portrush on the first day of the 2012 Irish Open
The 2012 Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club. Tourism Minister Arlene Foster pictured with local golfer Alan Dunbar, recent winner of the British Amateur Championship
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Ronan Keating of Ireland celebrates with David Keoghan of Ireland on the 18th green during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: American Actor, Bill Murray holds the British Amutre Championship Trophy in the sponsors tent after the Pro Am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: American Actors, Bill Murray (R) and his brother Joel Murray pose on the 18th hole during the Pro Am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts as a spectator is hit by an errant ball during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Irish businessman and financier, Dermot Desmond (R) is pictured on the 1st hole during the Pro Am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Sunderland Football Club Manager, Martin O'Neill (R) of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his second place in team Michael Hoey after the Pro Am Morning Session for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Ronan Keating of Ireland on the 18th green during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Senator, Martin McAleese hits his tee shot on the 1st hole during the Pro Am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
2012 Irish Open Pro-Am at Royal Portrush. Barry McGuigan
Irish Open Pro-Am 2012 at Royal Portrush. Rory McIlroy
Irish Open Pro-Am 2012 at Royal Portrush. Rory McIlroy
Irish Open Pro-Am 2012 at Royal Portrush. Rory McIlroy
Irish Open Pro-Am 2012 at Royal Portrush. David Humphreys
Irish Open. Spectators on the 10th hole
Irish Open. Spectators on the 10th hole
Irish Open Pro-Am 2012 at Royal Portrush. Rory Best
Irish Open Pro-Am 2012 at Royal Portrush. Rory McIlroy
Irish Open Pro-Am 2012 at Royal Portrush. Rory McIlroy
Irish Open Pro-Am at Royal Portrush. Rory McIlroy with dad Gerry
Irish Open Pro-Am at Royal Portrush. Rory McIlroy with dad Gerry
Irish Open Pro-Am. Young fans pictured watch Rory McIlroy on the 17th hole
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: American Actor, Aidan Quinn is pictured on the 17th hole during the Pro Am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Pat Jennings of Northern Ireland the former Northern Ireland legendary goalkeeper in action during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
Bill Murray wears the Mayor of Coleraine's chain of office with Graeme McDowell and Coleraine Mayor Sam Cole
Kenny McDowell with Graeme's girlfriend Kirstan Stape and Srixon representative Mike Mobert during the Irish Open Golf Pro-Am at Royal Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Barry McGuigan in action during the Irish Open Golf Pro-Am at Royal Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Mike Mobert, Kirstan Stape and Kenny McDowell during the Irish Open Golf Pro-Am at Royal Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Graeme McDowell videos Bill Murray's drive at the 5th during the Irish Open Golf Pro-Am at Royal Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Graeme McDowell hits into the 8th during the Irish Open Golf Pro-Am at Royal Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Kirstan Stap keeps a watchful eye on Graeme McDowell during the Irish Open Golf Pro-Am at Royal Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Padriag Harrington lines up his birdie put at the 6th during the Irish Open Golf Pro-Am at Royal Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Kenny McDowell with Graeme's girlfriend Kirstan Stape the Iris during the Irish Open Golf Pro-Am at Royal Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
A relaxed Graeme McDowell enjoying the Irish Open Golf Pro-Am at Royal Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Graeme McDowell tees off at the 5th during the Irish Open Golf Pro-Am at Royal Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
US PGA winner Keegan Bradley watches his fourball during the Irish Open Golf Pro-Am at Royal Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Belfast man Michael Hoey smashes the ball down the 5th during the Irish Open Golf Pro-Am at Royal Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Shane Filan of Northern Ireland on the 1st tee with the Open Championship trophy during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland (second from r) with his father Godfrey Clarke and sons Tyrone Clarke and Conor Clarke on the 1st tee during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland watches his son Tyrone Clarke tee off on the 1st tee during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland watches his father Godfrey Clarke tee off on the 1st tee during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland watches his amateur partner Shane Filan tee off on the 1st tee during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland tees off on the 1st tee during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Sunderland Football Club Manager, Martin O'Neill of Northern Ireland hits his tee shot on the 3rd hole during the Pro Am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Michael Hoey of Northern Ireland hits his tee shot on the 4th hole during the Pro Am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Simon Dyson of England hits his second shot on the 4th hole during the Pro Am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: American Actors, Billy Murray (L) and his brother Joel Murray walk off the 2nd hole during the Pro Am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland speaks to the media prior to the Pro Am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Peter Lawrie of Northern Ireland hits his tee shot on the 5th hole during the Pro Am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Bill Murray of the United States the American moviestar in action during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Bill Murray of the United States the American moviestar in action during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Bill Murray of the United States the American moviestar in action during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Sunderland Football Club Manager, Martin O'Neill of Northern Ireland speaks to another player on the 3rd hole during the Pro Am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: American Actor, Billy Murray (L) and Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland speak on the 2nd green during the Pro Am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: American Actors, Billy Murray (L) and his brother Joel Murray walk off the 2nd hole during the Pro Am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: American Actor, Billy Murray waits for his putt on the 2nd hole during the Pro Am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: American Actor, Billy Murray smiles after his putt during the Pro Am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Padraig Harrington of Ireland with Redmond O'Donoghue of the Board Failte during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Martin O'Neil of Northern Ireland the former Northern Ireland football player and current manager of the English Premier League team Sunderland in action on the 1st hole his professional Jose Mari Olazabal of Spain moves in to play his second shot during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Martin O'Neil of Northern Ireland the former Northern Ireland legendary football player and current manager of the English Premier League team Sunderland in action during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Martin O'Neil of Northern Ireland the former Northern Ireland legendary football player and current manager of the English Premier League team Sunderland in action during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Pat Jennings of Northern Ireland the former Northern Ireland legendary goalkeeper in action during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Bill Murray of the United States the American moviestar in action with his caddie Keri Smyth of Portrush and Northern Ireland during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Joel Murray of the United States the American actor in action during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Bill Murray of the United States the American moviestar follows his brother Joel Murray on to the tee at the first hole during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Joel Murray of the United States the American actor in action during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Bill Murray of the United States the American moviestar in action during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Bill Murray of the United States the American moviestar in action during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Bill Murray of the United States the American moviestar follows his brother Joel Murray on to the tee at the first hole during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Bill Murray of the United States the American moviestar in action with his professional Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland and their brothers Gary McDowell (far left) and Joel Murray (second from left) during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Bill Murray of the United States the American moviestar with his caddie Keri Smyth of Northern Ireland and his professional Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Former WBO featherweight Champion and Patron of CLIC sargent, Barry McGuigan (R) putts on the 5th green during the Pro Am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Bill Murray of the United States the American moviestar in action with his professional Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Bill Murray of the United States the American moviestar in action with his professional Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Former WBO featherweight Champion and Patron of CLIC sargent, Barry McGuigan hits his second shot on the 5th hole during the Pro Am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Bill Murray of the United States the American moviestar in action with his caddie Keri Smyth of Portrush and Northern Ireland during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Former WBO featherweight Champion and Patron of CLIC sargent, Barry McGuigan hits his tee shot on the 5th hole during the Pro Am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Bill Murray of the United States the American moviestar in action with his caddie Keri Smyth of Portrush and Northern Ireland during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Bill Murray of the United States the American moviestar in action with his caddie Keri Smyth of Portrush and Northern Ireland during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Bill Murray of the United States the American moviestar in action with his caddie Keri Smyth of Portrush and Northern Ireland during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Bill Murray of the United States the American moviestar in action during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Bill Murray of the United States the American moviestar in action during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Bill Murray of the United States the American moviestar in action during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
Bill Murray arrives by helicopter at Royal Portrush
Bill Murray arrives by helicopter at Royal Portrush
The Irish Open Pro-Am at Royal Portrush Golf Club. Former Northern Ireland goalkeeper Pat Jennings
Bill Murray wears the Mayor of Coleraine's chain of office
The Irish Open Pro-Am at Royal Portrush Golf Club. John Daly (USA) on the first tee
The Irish Open Pro-Am at Royal Portrush Golf Club. John Daly (USA) on the first tee
The Irish Open Pro-Am at Royal Portrush Golf Club. John Daly (USA) on the first tee
Bill Murray meets fans at Royal Portrush
Bill Murray meets fans at Royal Portrush
Bill Murray meets fans at Royal Portrush
Bill Murray meets fans at Royal Portrush
Irish Open Pro-Am 2012 at Royal Portrush. Hollywood actor Bill Murray
Irish Open Pro-Am 2012 at Royal Portrush. Hollywood actor Bill Murray on the second hole
Irish Open Pro-Am 2012 at The Royal Portrush. Hollywood actor Bill Murray
Irish Open Pro-Am 2012 at Royal Portrush. Hollywood actor Bill Murray
Irish Open Pro-Am 2012 at Royal Portrush. Hollywood actor Bill Murray
Hollywood actor Bill Murray with Graeme McDowell
Hollywood actor Bill Murray with local woman Kerri Smyth
Irish Open Pro-Am 2012 at Royal Portrush. Hollywood actor Bill Murray
Hollywood actor Bill Murray at Royal Portrush
Press Eye - Belfast Northern Ireland - 27th June 2012 -The 2012 Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club - WEDNESDAYBill Murray arrives by helicopter at Royal PortrushPicture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Hollywood actor Bill Murray after hitting his first shot into the crowd
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland chipping under the watchful eye of coach Pete Cowen of England during practice for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 26, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Harry Diamond of Northern Ireland during practice for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 26, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in action during practice for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 26, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Harry Diamond of Northern Ireland playing with his friend Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland during practice for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 26, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Harry Diamond of Northern Ireland playing with his friend Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland during practice for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 26, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in action during practice for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 26, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in action during practice for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 26, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in action during practice for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 26, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland with Harry Diamond (r) of Northern Ireland one of McIlroy's childhood friends who received an invitation to play this week during practice for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 26, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in action during practice for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 26, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in action during practice for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 26, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
Graeme McDowell on the driving range at Royal Portrush
Graeme McDowell on the driving range at Royal Portrush
Padraig Harrington on the driving range at Royal Portrush
Keegan Bradley has his first look at Royal Portrush
Padraig Harrington fools around on the practice course
Rory McIlroy practices with his friend Harry Diamond
Darren Clarke on the 15th Hole at Royal Portrush Golf Club
Gareth Maybin during practice at Royal Portrush
Graeme McDowell on the driving range at Royal Portrush
Graeme McDowell arrives at Royal Portrush
Rory McIlroy practices with his friend Harry Diamond
Rory McIlroy practices at Royal Portrush
Hollywood actor Bill Murray arrives at Royal Portrush
Hollywood actor Bill Murray with his brother Joel Murray and Maybeth Fenton
Hollywood actor Bill Murray with his brother Joel Murray and Maybeth Fenton
Ghostbusters star Bill Murray with his brother Joel Murray (left), who plays Freddy Rumsden in TV series Mad Men and Maybeth Fenton arrive at Royal Portrush
Preperations for the Irish Open 2012 at Royal Portrush

The Irish Open will be back in Northern Ireland probably sooner rather than later after the success of Royal Portrush.

The European Tour has been blown away by the response of the Ulster public to the tournament with over 130,000 people attending over the four days.

And the Tour's James Finnigan said that they would definitely be back again.

“There is no doubt that the European Tour would want to return to Northern Ireland — we'd be foolish if we didn't want to return,” he said.

“Nothing has been decided yet and we will decide after meeting with our government partners. I had the First Minister Peter Robinson here, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness here, Tourism Minister Arlene Foster and during their visits they have indicated that they want the European Tour to return.

“For our part we would have no absolutely problem returning to Northern Ireland.”

From Royal Portrush's point of view virtually nothing went wrong all week and even the damp weather had its plus points.

“We have had to deal with some difficult conditions which is some ways has enhanced the whole experience,” said the club's tournament director John Bamber.

“We might have been questioned if it had been played over four perfect sunny days about how we would have coped in the rain.

“As far as we are concerned having had virtually four seasons through this event we have been able to conduct it as well as we possible could and everyone has had a smile on their face.”

If the Irish Open does return soon, then Royal Portrush has set a high benchmark as a venue and would easily be the frontrunner to stage it next time around.

“There are other venues in Northern Ireland which could try to make a claim for the event, but I believe that if it isn't broken then don't try to fix it,” Mr Finnigan said.

“This is one of the world's very finest golf courses and I think this beautiful north Antrim coast adds an extra allure to the event.

“The public and the players have responded to coming here and indeed even in terms of media we were heavily over-subscribed.”

The figures alone make incredible reading for the European Tour and for that reason alone there is a compelling case for returning.

The attendance for the Pro-Am on Wednesday exceeded that for the final day's play in the final event of last year's Race to Dubai event in Dubai.

Total attendance figures over the four days approached that of some recent Open Championships, which will be welcome news to the R&A who have paid more than a couple of visits to Royal Portrush over the past six months.

The course, lengthened to some 7,200 yards in recent years, did stand up to the modern professional player and only on the last day with light winds and some fairly straightforward pin positions, was scoring low.

The winning total of 18 under par was also due to some superb player by Jamie Donaldson (below) who only missed a couple of fairways in that final round on his way to victory.

“There haven't been any glitches in staging the Irish Open, but that's only because of the meticulous planning that went into it beforehand,” said Finnigan.

“All the plans that were put in place worked just as we would have liked them to and there was a great deal of work behind the scenes to ensure it did go as well as possible.

“But what we have proved is that Northern Ireland can take major events, but only because we haven't left anything to chance.”

As for Royal Portrush, by the end of this week all the tents and marquees will be a fading memory and it won't be long before any trace of the Irish Open will have completely disappeared.

“There's no better country in the world for growing grass than Ireland,” said Bamber.

“I would expect by the end of September you would not even know that we had hosted an Irish Open.

“That's very different to the experience of the K Club and Celtic Manor after their Ryder Cups because of the parkland nature of their courses.”

As for bringing the Open Championship back to Royal Portrush, last week certainly cannot have harmed the cause.

“No-one needs to get too far ahead of themselves,” said Bamber.

“We wanted to host a European Tour event to see how the modern day professional would actually play the course.

“They could play it as a par 70 or par 71 but the R&A have always said that they would have a look at it.

“And I am sure they have been watching their television sets this last four or five days and they will have seen how it worked so we will wait and see.

“The R&A are the custodians of golf and they will make their own assessment.”

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