The Royal & Ancient has "denied a report that the Open Championship will be staged at Royal Portrush in 2018," according to Phil Casey of the PA.
Portrush "is the only course outside England or Scotland to have staged the Open." Tournament officials "have been studying the possibility of a return to the County Antrim venue, which last year successfully staged the Irish Open on the European Tour." However, an R&A spokesperson responded to a story in Friday's Irish Sun claiming Portrush would host the Open in '18 by saying, "No decision has been made for 2018" (PA, 6/7
). In Dublin, Jason Johnson reported a top Irish golf course "has holed one of the sport’s most lucrative prizes" -- hosting the Open. The Open "will tee-off at Royal Portrush in July 2018, 67 years after the event was last held on these shores." Insiders said that the coup -- swung with the help of Ulster’s star trio Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke -- will deliver a massive €120M ($155.6M) "wedge of cash to the local economy." It is understood that Portrush’s successful staging of the Irish Open last year convinced chiefs at golf’s R&A headquarters "to return." A source said, "The Irish Open was a total sell-out and proved Royal Portrush could host a large event" (IRISH SUN, 6/7