Padraig Harrington: ‘It’s huge for the Open to go back to Portrush’


Major returns to Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951 and the Ryder Cup captain believes it is a symbol of moving forward

The innocence of youth was useful as the Troubles raged in Northern Ireland. Padraig Harrington bears testament to that, even if an inquisitive nature took over eventually. As border checks and bombs reflected a grim way of life, Harrington was – in theory anyway – flirting with danger when travelling north from Dublin to participate in amateur championships. A journey that started as a teenager in 1987 will have travelled full circle by the time Harrington arrives at Royal Portrush for the 148th Open Championship that starts on Thursday.

“There were four of us driving up to Warrenpoint to play a match and we were stopped on the road, there was a big tailback, an hour of traffic before we get to a soldier redirecting us on to a detour,” Harrington says. “The driver was told: ‘Ah, there is just a wee problem up the road.’ On the news later there was a 500lb bomb on the road.

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Written by Ewan Murray
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