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Ballyliffin would love chance to stage The Open if it broadens horizons outside of UK, says general manager John Farren


Ballyliffin want to stage premier events

Ballyliffin want to stage premier events

©INPHO/Oisin Keniry

Ballyliffin want to stage premier events

Ballyliffin general manager John Farren says the club are open to the possibility of hosting The Open Championship if the R&A ever took the Major outside of the UK.

The Co Donegal club have a strong relationship with the governing body with the Glashedy Links having been awarded the 2024 Amateur Championship for 2024 earlier this week, while this August they will host the Home Internationals on the Old Links.

Calls for The Open to be expanded to include Irish courses have been growing stronger after the success of both The Open being played at Royal Portrush and the Amateur Championship being played at Portmarnock in 2019, while Ballyliffin has proven itself to be an excellent host already having staged the 2018 Irish Open.

“The Open can effectively now be staged anywhere. I wouldn’t rule it out,” he insisted.

“We feel we’d be able to stage any Championship at Ballyliffin, and certainly the Irish Open at Rolex Series scale would be appealing, and we continue to talk to the DP World Tour about bringing back the Irish Open. They had a commercial success in Ballyliffin, and the player feedback towards the course was outstanding.

“I know their intention is to move it around the country and showcase Ireland. It’s the government’s target for it to be moved to different parts of the country and we see ourselves as repeat hosts in the future.”

Certainly a successful Amateur Championship in two years’ time would be another indicator that they are ready to potentially throw their hat in the ring to be added to The Open rotation, with the world’s leading players set to descend on the Glashedy Links for six days of world-class action.

Seventeen-year-old South African star Aldrich Potgieter won this year’s tournament yesterday, beating England’s Sam Bairstow in the Final at Royal Lytham & St Anne’s, while previous winners of the event have included Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey and Alan Dunbar.

And while a chance to impress the R&A up close is on Farren’s mind, he hopes another significant tournament being hosted on the north coast can be a boost for tourism in the area.

“We’ve been pressing (the R&A) since for a bigger, more premier tournament and the Amateur Championship is a big one for us. The R&A felt comfortable we could host one of their premier events and we were delighted when they gave us the nod a couple of weeks ago that we were in consideration, and even more so when we got it,” he added.

“We do see Ballyliffin as a cross-border venue for bringing people to spotlight what the north coast has to offer, and this is the kind of thing that will help that.

“Golf is booming. International visitors have returned, albeit the north coast is lagging a little behind the south, but The Open coming back to Portrush in 2025 and hopefully a few Championships coming our way in the future will turn the spotlight on us and will bring more people our direction.”

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