PGA of America boss suggests Royal Portrush could be a US PGA candidate

Royal PortrushRecord crowds crammed into Royal Portrush for the 2012 Irish Open. Picture Fran Caffrey

Royal Portrush could be in the mix to host a Major once more - not The Open but the US PGA.

The PGA of America is studying the possibility of occasionally staging the final major of the season outside the US in future years.

And while there has been much talk of a trip to Australia and Royal Melbourne, PGA of America President Ted Bishop reckons the world famous Dunluce Links should be part of the conversation.

Asked on the Golf Channel yesterday which international venue he has a strong interest in pursuing, Bishop said: “Royal Portrush would be a great first international major.

“I think given the powerful effect that Irish golfers have on the professional game today, that might be a good place to start.”

The PGA has already had in-house discussions about taking the year’s fourth major abroad, and the earliest possible year that the event could be held overseas would be 2020. 

The R&A has denied speculation that it is considering staging The Open at Royal Portrush in either 2018 or 2019. While security concerns could be a factor, they claim the course needs major investment in infrastructure to make it a viable venue for the world’s biggest major.

But there is no doubt that there is huge interest in seeing more big events staged at the 1951 Open venue and while Bishop may simply have been trying to put one over on R&A boss Peter Dawson - the pair have a fraught relationship since the PGA of America backed the PGA Tour’s stance on opposing the ban on anchored putters - it’s an idea that could grow legs.

There were record crowds for the 2012 Irish Open there with more than 100,000 fans streaming through the gates to see major winners Rory McIlroy,  Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington.

Imagine how many they would get if the rest of golf’s aristocracy turned up.