Since 1894, Portmarnock Golf Club has welcomed the world’s greatest players to the hallowed links peninsula. Early legends like Harry Vardon, and John Ball all played a role in bringing Portmarnock Golf Club to prominence. During the War Years, golfing professionals like Bobby Locke and Henry Cotton competed and won various Championships at the club. And of course, the first super star of modern golf Arnold Palmer was instrumental with Sam Snead in the 1960 with their victorious Canada Cup win, again elevating the links’ reputation at a global level.
Palmer arrived at Portmarnock for the 1960 Canada Cup having won both the US Masters and the US Open earlier that year. A week later, he would travel to St. Andrews for the Centenary Open, bidding to complete the third leg of the Grand Slam. As it happened, he finished runner-up to Kel Nagle of Australia.
" Sam Sneed and I played in the Canada Cup at Portmarnock in 1960 and I recall saying to Sam on the way home that every aspect of our games was examined that week "
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Winner of 14 Major championships, Tiger has been a frequent visitor to Portmarnock Golf Club in his preparations for The Open Championship. Here on one such occasion, with Mark O’Meara in 2000.
" One of the most enjoyable links courses I have had an opportunity to play "
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Harry spent forty years at Portmarnock. He won the Irish PGA Championship 10 times between 1941 and 1957. He was also the Irish Open champion in 1947 and 1949. He teamed with Christy O'Connor to win the Canada Cup for Ireland in Mexico in 1958. Harry also played in the Ryder Cup on three occasions (1953, 1955 and 1957) and was twice Dunlop Masters champion, in 1953 and 1955.
" By saying that Portmarnock is long and difficult, which it certainly is, I don’t wish to frighten the handicap player away. There are no unfair carries and remember, there's the added satisfaction of knowing that a moderate score there, would represent top-class play on a shorter, easier parkland stretch. "
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Nine-time Major winner, Gary Player, played in the 1978 Irish Open at Portmarnock Golf Club. He was the reigning US Masters champion at the time.
" What a wonderful links golf course Portmarnock is. I played in the Irish Open and recall vividly the challenge it presented that week. I hope to go back there some day very very soon. "
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An acknowledged expert on links terrain, Watson regularly visited Ireland as preparation for The Open Championship which he won on five occasions.The holder of eight Major titles made a memorable visit with American friends to Portmarnock Golf Club in 1983 and played consecutive days on the links.
" There are no tricks or nasty surprises at Portmarnock, only an honest, albeit searching test of shot making skills. "
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The five-time Major winner, and three-time Irish Open champion, Seve captured the 1986 Irish Open at Portmarnock with a score of 285 (3 under par).
" I always enjoy my time in Ireland but in particular playing links golf at fantastic courses like Portmarnock "
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Winner of six Major titles during a sparkling career, the colourful American professional experienced Portmarnock as a leading challenger in Alcan Golfer of the Year Tournament in 1970, when he was tied third.
" My first time in Ireland, I remember playing the Alcan Golfer Of the Year tournament at Portmarnock. WOW, did we get some tough links conditions that week but what a great course "
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The great Australian is best remembered for his five Open Championship triumphs, but Thomson played in the Canada Cup (World Cup) at Portmarnock in 1960 with Kel Nagle. The following week, they travelled together to St. Andrews for The Open and Thomson was thought in some circles to have inspired his fellow countryman to a memorable triumph.
" There are often arguments as to the greatest courses in these islands, but no one would dispute Portmarnock's right to a place in the first few. "
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Mickelson, a five-time Major winner, was a member of the 1991 victorious US team when the Walker Cup was staged at Portmarnock. In January of the same year, at age 20, Mickelson won his first PGA Tour event, the Northern Telecom Open in Tucson, Arizona.
" I had the opportunity and play in the 1991 Walker Cup at Portmarnock Golf Club and it was one of the great highlights of my Amateur days not only to represent the USA but also to enjoy the challenge of such a magnificent links course "
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While learning the craft that would deliver four Major titles, McIlroy competed in the 2006 Irish Amateur Open Championship at Portmarnock. After rounds of 73, 71, 74, 73 he was beaten in play-off by Finland’s Antti Ahokas.
" I always love playing Portmarnock Golf Club; one of the world’s greatest links courses in my view "
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The three-time Major champion and honorary member at Portmarnock Golf Club, was aged 19 when representing Great Britain and Ireland in the 1991 Walker Cup. Three years later, in 1994, Pádraig competed there again in the Irish Amateur Close Championship in which he lost the final to David Higgins on the 20th hole.
" Portmarnock is the fairest links I have ever played, which is unusual because links golf by its very nature can be unfair. It is almost perfectly balanced in that it is both challenging and demanding for every level of golfer..... as stern an exam as a professional could wish for from the back tees, and an equally strict test for the more modest player off the medal tees. "
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The two-time Masters champion was one of the world's leading golfers throughout the 1980s and 1990s, having become the first official number-one ranked player in 1986. A year later, he won the Irish Open at Portmarnock by a stunning 10 shots over second-placed, Sandy Lyle.
" In my view, I don’t think you will find a more balanced links course than Portmarnock. It’s as good a test of golf as you could wish for. During my many visits to Ireland to play in the Irish Open the crowds and supporters were always outstanding "
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The Irish Open champion at Portmarnock in 1990, can reflect on a career which Masters wins and captaincy of a remarkable European Ryder Cup triumph at Medinah in 2012.
" My first experience of Portmarnock was in 1981 when I was in the Spanish team which finished second to the US in the World Junior Championship. It’s a great links where it always seems to be windy and where you can see the main features of every hole off the tee. I think it is the links course I love the most. "
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As winner of the US Open at Southern Pines in 1977, Green made his first visit to Portmarnock two months later, and completed a notable, transatlantic double. With a final round of 71, he gained a one-stroke victory in the Irish Open over the defending champion, Ben Crenshaw.
" Oh, I loved Portmarnock - a great golf course with the wind, the pop-up shots, the horrible breaks and a really great short hole, the 15th. The frustration of it all. That's what golf's about; a challenge that it takes real character to overcome. "
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Darren has won 22 tournaments worldwide, his biggest victory having come in the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's. He has represented Ireland as both an amateur and professional and was a member of five consecutive European Ryder Cup teams between 1997 and 2006. He will captain Europe at Hazeltine National in 2016.
" Portmarnock is a national gem for Irish golf. Along with Portrush and Royal County Down, it’s amongst the best in the world "
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Woosnam was one of the "Big Five" European golfers during the 1980’s and 1990’s. He won 29 European Tour events and played on eight Ryder Cup teams and captained the winning side in Ireland in 2006. In 1991 he captured his only Major title, the US Masters.
" My two Irish Open wins at Portmarnock are amongst my greatest professional successes on the European Tour. The course, the set-up, the fans all made it a special week for me every year "
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Peter Alliss is an eight time Ryder Cup player and the renowned “Voice of Golf” in broadcasting.
" When I think of Portmarnock, one of golf’s greatest gentlemen comes to mind, Harry Bradshaw. I played many a round on that beautiful peninsula with Harry and friends. All joyous memories "