This year The Open returns to Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland after nearly 70 years. The Open was last staged at Royal Portrush in 1951 where we watched English golfer Max Faulkner become Champion Golfer of the Year. Since then, The Open has continued to grow in popularity and has been the event of the golfing season. The Open is being held on home turf for a lot of Northern Irish golfers this year, including Rory McIlroy who we have come to expect great things from. But how will he hold himself against the pressure and how will he perform when it comes to teeing off? Find all the latest odds here – https://www.paddypower.com/golf/open-championship-2019.
For Rory McIlroy, Royal Portrush is a familiar setting, it is his home country and he spent a lot of time on the old Dunluce Links Course. His most famous game being his record breaking 61 result at the mere age of 16 which soon became front page news across the golfing community. Since then, the 17th and 18th hole have been removed and two new ones built as well as some other adjustments, and although a lot of the course remains the same, Rory McIlroy, like many other competitors, is yet to set foot on it.
McIlroy’s reputation on the course will bring a lot of scrutiny as to how he performs at The Open this year, but adding to that pressure is the crowd. The support from his fellow Northern Irishmen will no doubt be fierce, with loud applause and sighs being heard as he performs accordingly.
With McIlroy set to be the best contender for the Northern Irish fans, many supporters will look to him for some home town glory. McIlroy has said in the run up to The Open at Royal Portrush that “as much as you want to win for other people…the number one thing is you want to win for yourself. It took me a few years of playing the Irish Open to realize that”.
It is easy to say for McIlroy that he must play for himself, but on top of his existing pressures is the fact that this year’s crowd at The Open is record breaking, with a total of 215,000 spectators expected to turnout for the event. As well as record attendances, the tickets were sold out in record time, making this event the most highly-anticipated in the golfing calendar – perhaps it has something to do with McIlroy’s return to Royal Portrush. An extra 15,000 ticket have been produced for this year’s Open in order to keep up with the demand. This is a massive increase on last year’s 172,000 attendance, while before that the record was 157,000 at Carnoustie in 1999.
McIlroy will have to keep a level-head and withstand the pressures of not only being in his home country and holding his incredible record on the course, but he will have to stay composed as huge crowds surround his performance as number 1 to watch. Will he perform as expected come July 18th, or will he collapse under the pressure that Royal Portrush brings?