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Page last updated at 10:03 GMT, Tuesday, 14 July 2009 11:03 UK

Clarke eager for Open at Portrush

Darren Clarke
Clarke is keen to have the Open back in his native Northern Ireland

Darren Clarke believes the time has come for the Open to make a return to Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.

Max Faulkner was the winner when the tournament was last played on the north Antrim course in 1951.

"It's as good a links course on the planet," said Clarke, who is back in the Open this year after failing to qualify for Royal Birkdale in 2008.

"With the new tees it's magnificent and the players would relish it. I can't see why it shouldn't go back there."

Accommodating the huge crowds at the Open is the major obstacle for Royal Portrush.

"I looked at it in great detail about five or six years ago. It would be a fantastic venue, but only for about 15,000 people a day," said 2007 Royal and Ancient Club championship secretary David Hill, himself from Portrush.

"There would have to be an amazing investment to consider taking it back to Ireland.

"The Seniors Open was at Portrush and with 6,000 people we were struggling. It's jammed with normal holiday-makers as it is."



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Open round four tee-off times
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