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'Nothing can top it': What Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and more of the world's top golfers said about Portrush at The Open

Shane Lowry celebrates on the 18th at The Open Championship at Royal Portrush (Richard Sellers/PA)
Shane Lowry celebrates on the 18th at The Open Championship at Royal Portrush (Richard Sellers/PA)

By Adam McKendry at Royal Portrush

The 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush has finally come to an end with Ireland's Shane Lowry walking away with the Claret Jug.

All week, however, the focus was on how the players would respond to the course - would they enjoy it on its return to The Open rotation for the first time in 68 years?

The answer: resoundingly positive.

Repeatedly players sang the Dunluce links' praises, hailing the fans and lauding the views around the area and the atmosphere of one of the world's biggest sports events coming to Northern Ireland.

And make no mistake about it, every player wants it to come back in the future, and the Royal & Ancient - the tournament organisers - will have paid attention.

I could do a long piece analysing what each player said, but that would defeat the purpose.

Each player was highly complimentary in their own way. Graeme McDowell was beaming every time he said that he was yet to speak to a player who hadn't loved their experience of their course.

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So, in their own words, here is what each individual player had to say about Royal Portrush, and how much they're looking forward to coming back:

Tiger Woods - 15-time Major champion and former World No.1

"I just think that this venue, it's just amazing it's been this long that it's taken for us to come back here. It's such a great venue.

"Everyone who's played it, whether it's guys who grew up here or people who have come up here and just have played, they've always enjoyed it. They've always enjoyed playing this golf course.

"And I can understand why. It's straightforward. It is tricky a little bit here and there, but overall it's just a wonderful links golf course."

Francesco Molinari - 2018 Open champion

"The greatest compliment I think is all the feedback that I've heard from the players has been positive and especially on a links course that's not something you hear every year. So that's been great.

"The crowds obviously have been amazing. So hopefully we will be back in the near future."

Jordan Spieth - three-time Major champion and 2017 Open champion

"It was amazing, I hope it's on the rotation. I enjoyed the golf course. It played tough and fair.

"In the town itself, the people were top-notch. This tournament they always are. Here and Augusta are my two favourite events in the entire world, and it never disappoints. And it didn't here. It was awesome."

Gary Woodland - 2019 US Open champion

"The golf course is really, really good. Obviously the views are spectacular. It's in unbelievable condition. It's very lush, very green.

"Beautiful. Portrush is amazing. The town, went to dinner the other night, it's very busy, but the weather has obviously been spectacular. The golf course, the views, everything has been very, very nice."

Justin Thomas - two-time Major champion

"I love it. I mean, this is only my fourth Open, but I would say it's my favourite venue that I've been to thus far. It's a beautiful, beautiful course.

"But I feel that it's just a great test of golf. It has a little bit of everything. You're going to have some holes with some short irons, some holes with some long irons, great variety on the par-3s, but an opportunity for different setups.

"But obviously barring the conditions, which is something you never know can happen, I think it's just a tremendous golf course."

Justin Rose - 2013 US Open champion

"I had the opportunity to spend a little bit of time up here, and frequent the Harbour Bar in Portrush. And I just think that people are very proud of their little piece of the world up here. And it is very special. The golf courses are unbelievable.

"But the hospitality I think is fantastic up here. Everyone has been really welcoming. Because it has been so long, people have been very excited about it. That feels different.

"But yeah, it feels a little bit different up here, for sure, than the routine venues that we're used to in the rotation."

Danny Willett - 2016 Masters champion

"Golfing in this part of the world is monumental. And luckily I think it's going to be back here a couple of times in the next 10 or 15 years."

Rickie Fowler - seven-time PGA Tour/European Tour winner

"I'd love to have to be back. I think this golf course is a great test. It's very different from what I've seen from a lot of kind of traditional links golf courses.

"It's a great test. We got over here on Saturday, had a great time hanging in the town of Portrush on Saturday night, Sunday night, had some dinner down there. Really good people.

"The fans have been amazing here. They've been super excited to have The Open here.

"I don't see any downfall, even the weather turned out to be better every day than it was supposed to be. I don't see any negative of it being back here."

Lee Westwood - former World No.1

"I played here in the Amateur championship in '93 and it's a fantastic golf course. I enjoyed it then. Unfortunately, I couldn't come in when the Irish Open was here.

"But it's been a long time obviously coming back to Royal Portrush, and the crowds have shown that there's an appetite to have it a bit sooner than 70 years."

Matthew Fitzpatrick - five-time European Tour winner

"The golf course is fantastic. It's for everyone to see, everyone loves it. No one said a bad word about it. You should come back here regularly.

"It's better than a few of the golf courses in The Open rota, it should be. And I think it is a popular spot and I hope it will come back soon."

Tyrrell Hatton - three-time European Tour winner

"The crowds have been amazing all week, the support they've given every player has been great. I've really enjoyed the week. The atmosphere, this has been the best one.

"Like I said, it's been great from start to finish. And hopefully we'll be coming back."

Robert MacIntyre - Open Championship debutant

"I don't know what is better than this. It's possibly the best links golf course I've ever played on. I played here in the Home Internationals, I knew I was coming to one of best.

"I think for my first Open Championship to be here, I don't think anything can top it."

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