Golf’s best end major year with The 148th Open at Royal Portrush

This week, for the first time since 1951, The Open returns to Northern Ireland. The field tees off Thursday at The Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush beginning at 1:35 a.m. EDT (6:35 a.m. local time).

This marks the second time golf’s oldest championship has been held outside Scotland and England. Modifications have been made to the venerable links, which was designed by Harry S. Colt. Starting their project in 2015, esteemed architects MacKenzie and Ebert used land from the adjacent Valley course to build two new holes – the 7th and 8th – specifically for the tournament.

Francesco Molinari is the defending champion. Rory McIlroy, who grew up in nearby Hollywood, is the betting favorite and shot a course-record 61 at Royal Portrush in the 2005 North of Ireland Championship. Since his victory in 2014 at Royal Liverpool, McIlroy hasn’t finished outside the top-5 in The Open, either.

Brooks Koepka, seeking his second major title of the year and fifth consecutive top-2 finish, has loyal caddie – and longtime Royal Portrush member – Ricky Elliott on the bag. Tiger Woods hasn’t played since Pebble Beach. He’s paired with Patrick Reed and Matt Wallace and tees off at 10:10 a.m. EDT on Thursday. Dustin Johnson hopes to bag an elusive second major after a series of close calls.

Expect to see chilly temperatures in the 50s and 60s, daily rain and of course, wind. Severe changes in elevation enhance the challenge at Royal Portrush and experience is a vital tool for those hoping to hoist the Claret Jug. The average age of the past 10 champions is 35 years, 3 months. The competitors won’t be able to get away with purposely overshooting the 18th green, either. They’ll face a devilish lie in the drop zone on the 474-yard-par 4 that finishes a diabolical three-hole closing stretch that’s certain to finish The Open hopes of more than one competitor.

PerryGolf is an Authorised Ticket Provider for The Open and proud to escort guests to the final round of this year’s championship after they’ve played some of the finest links in the British Isles such as Royal County Down, Royal Birkdale and Castle Stuart. There’s time to reserve your spot on a variety of Cruises, Escorted Tours and Customized offerings available for 2020 and 2021.

The 150th Open at St. Andrews in 2021 is certain to be a special experience in the Home of Golf. On one particular Escorted Tour, PerryGolf guests will play memorable rounds on a quartet of courses that have combined to host The Open on 35 occasions and wrap their trip by attending the final two rounds of the championship. PerryGolf is also pleased to take golfers to test their game on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush as part of our new Irish Links Golf Cruise, which has offerings in 2020 and 2021.

The new, condensed PGA Tour schedule put in place for the 2018-19 season means that The Open is the final major of the calendar year. It’s been a thrilling season, beginning with Woods’ exciting victory at The Masters, Koepka’s dominant performance at Bethpage and Gary Woodland’s flawless weekend to stave off Koepka at Pebble Beach. Still, the golf world has anticipated this championship at Royal Portrush ever since it was announced. The course is in excellent condition and certain to offer a stiff test. After a practice round earlier this week, the affable American pro Rickie Fowler avoided predicting a winning score due to the uncertain conditions ahead, saying simply that any round under par would be a good one.



Does Tiger impact golf travel?

Recently I have been asked a number of times by different friends and contacts the impact that the Tiger situation will have on golf travel. Possibly I am not insightful enough to appreciate the nuance of it all but with respect to international golf travel, I foresee little impact. Curiously a number of friends who are Club golf professionals have indicated that members have said to them that spouses have begun to question proposed trips to Las Vegas. Right or wrong, Las Vegas seems to have drawn another bad hand in golf circles after the beating it took at the hands of the President Obama earlier this year.

One of the challenges that golf in the British Isles has always faced is that it is perceived as a “guys trip”. The weather is not predictable and often times the spouses are perfectly satisfied to let their husbands bond with their buddies for 7 days of cigars, wine, whisky and wind! Perception is everything and the British Isles is not perceived as a “party” destination beyond wholesome golf entertainment. Given the current climate, that perception may well be a plus for the golf tourism industry in the British Isles.

The wild card is what impact will the uncertainty of when Tiger returns to playing tournament golf have on Americans travelling to the (British) Open Championship and Ryder Cup. St. Andrews which is hosting the Open this year has always been a strong draw for Americans regardless of participants and I would expect that to continue. I also have a theory that Tiger will desperately want to play at both Pebble Beach and St. Andrews as both hold fond memories and victories for him 10 years earlier and in some ways defined the decade in golf.

About the Author: Gordon Dalgleish is the Co-Founding Director of PerryGolf, the leading provider of international golf vacations. You can find him on Google+


Resetting of prices – extreme example

We have seen in many industries over the last 9 months a general resetting of prices…with the travel industry leading the herd! I came across an extreme example of this resetting phenomenon yesterday. Names will be withheld to protect the identity.
For $25 more than you would have paid in 2008 to play this well known course (one round) in the British Isles, you can play it twice in 2010 AND stay overnight in one of their deluxe rooms!

About the Author: Gordon Dalgleish is the Co-Founding Director of PerryGolf, the leading provider of international golf vacations. You can find him on Google+