The Open Preview 2019 – Royal Portrush

The Open takes place Northern Ireland for only the second time in history as Royal Portrush plays host.

The County Antrim course hosted The Open back in 1951, but 68 years on, it is now on the ‘rota’ and will become a regular host of the world’s greatest tournament.

And what price an Irish winner? Well with it being on Irish soil – all eyes are on one man…Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy is the firm favourite and he admits he would love to win, but not just because it is in Portrush – but because he wants to get his hands on the Claret Jug again.

“If I’m being honest, it would obviously mean the world to me. I think it’s going to feel normal. It’s going to feel like just another Open Championship.

“But just like winning Hoylake meant the world to me as well. Just getting my hands on that Claret Jug again would be a huge accomplishment.

“I’ve played in a few of them now. I know what to expect. Might be a little louder.

“Atmosphere might be a bit different but the objective is the same, to go there and play good golf and hopefully give myself a chance to win the Claret Jug.”

Defending champion is Francesco Molinari who is hoping to be the first man since Padraig Harrington in 2008 to retain the title.

“I am well aware of the challenges,” said Molinari.

“There are a lot of guys capable of winning the trophy and all I can do is try my best, try to put up a good defence and be in contention on Sunday.”


  • Royal Portrush, Northern Ireland
  • First staged in 1860
  • Current champion is Francesco Molinari

OVERVIEW: The Open is the greatest of them all, the oldest Major and from this year it is the final Major of the year and that does seem a fitting finale.


The pro’s point of view…

Our resident golf expert is Cliff Jackson. Cliff is a leading youth coach and PGA professional at the famed Seaton Carew Links – one of the oldest courses in the world.

It is great for The Open that the tournament is broadening its horizons by bringing Royal Portrush back on their rota.

This week in Ireland will be special, I have little doubt about it.

So who do we think is going to get their hands on the Claret Jug – I would love Rory McIlroy as favourite to do it, and it wouldn’t be a huge shock, just the same if Francesco Molinari defended the Claret Jug, but I don’t see either of them this week.

For me my number one pick would bee Jon Rahm – he loves playing in Ireland, his record at the Irish Open can’t be ignored, he knows how to play Links golf and every Spaniard has a touch of genius about them and I think he could deliver.

Away from Rahm and I will, like last week, be looking at the Matt’s but adding a third, so as well as Wallace and Fitzpatrick, let’s not sleep on Kuchar.

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