The worst-kept secret in major championship golf is no longer a secret. The Open Championship is going back to Royal Portrush. The R&A announced Wednesday morning that the final major of the year would return to Northern Ireland in 2025 for the 153rd playing of The Open. This will be just six years after Shane Lowry won it in 2019 but 76 after the first Open there in 1951.
The 2019 Open was a revelation. Massive infrastructure allowed for record-breaking crowds of nearly 240,000, and Lowry's triumph over Tommy Fleetwood and Tony Finau was as resounding as it was winsome.
An Irish lad winning The Open on the same island (albeit in a different country) where he grew up? Come on, that's a fairytale. But it happened.
"We could not be more thrilled to be bringing The Open back to Royal Portrush in 2025," said R&A CEO Martin Slumbers in a statement. "There will be huge excitement among golf fans around the world to see the best men's players facing the challenge of this magnificent links once again.
"The Open in 2019 was a massive success and showed just how much collective enthusiasm, passion and commitment there is to make Royal Portrush one of the leading venues for the championship and to build a distinctive golf tourism brand for Northern Ireland."
Now the next four venues are set, and the R&A has a modern rota. Next year's 150th Open is at the Old Course at St. Andrews. Then it's Royal Liverpool in 2023 and Royal Troon in 2024. Portrush will fall in line after that with no plans beyond 2025. But Portrush has seemingly replaced Turnberry in the rota, which gives us the following courses for Open Championship play.
- Royal Lytham and St. Annes (Last Open: 2012)
- Muirfield (2013)
- Royal Liverpool (2014)
- Old Course at St. Andrews (2015)
- Royal Troon (2016)
- Royal Birkdale (2017)
- Carnoustie (2018)
- Royal Portrush (2019)
- Royal St. George's (2021)
That's a healthy lineup of nine great courses in three different countries with the Old Course getting a disproportionate number of Opens because, well, it's the Old Course. Regardless, the news on Wednesday is that Portrush is back and seemingly in this lineup for the foreseeable future. That is wonderful news considering how much fun that 2019 Open was and how much excitement there will be for the next one in 2025.