Clarke backs Portrush to hold Open
Darren Clarke cannot wait to play at Royal Portrush this week in the Irish Open and feels it should stage the Open Championship.
The 43-year-old Northern Irishman will tee off on Thursday in what will become the first European Tour event to sell out in history, with 100,000 fans expected at the prestigious links course. The 2011 Open champion will be among a number of top Irish players from both sides of the border, with Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and three-time major winner Padraig Harrington all in the field. There has been a great deal of anticipation surrounding the event ever since it was announced that the tournament would be heading north of the border for the first time since 1953 and the public have responded by snapping up all available tickets. Clarke is eager to get out on the course to try to rediscover some form ahead of his Open defence and he admits he would love to see the year's third major played at Portrush at some stage in the future. "The Irish Open has always been one of my favourite tournaments and to have it here at Royal Portrush with this amount of people makes me very, very proud," he said. "It's all worked out unbelievably well. The players love it - it's almost got an Open feel, which is what I think the course deserves. "I moved up here when I was young, played an awful lot of my golf here and moved back a couple of years ago."