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Brexit

Had enough of Brexit? Now it might derail The Open

Royal Portrush's Brexit conundrum, JT lets loose on the rules, while the R&A and USGA contradict each other. Alex Perry explains all in The Slam
 

Brexit wounds

Will we ever go another full week without Brexit making the headlines?

Whatever your views on the Most Expensive Advisory Vote in History, Brexit is now threatening to complicate procedures ahead of the Open Championship – and that, I’m sure, is something we can all agree is completely and utterly unacceptable.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks with Britain’s exit (oh, I get it now) from the European Union is the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

And while the decision to send The Open back to Royal Portrush for just the second time – and the first since 1951 – was made in October 2015, several months before David Cameron’s career-ending Brexit referendum, it is now a cause for concern for the R&A.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Slumbers admitted Portrush perhaps wouldn’t have got The Open if the uncertainty was in the air at the time of the announcement:

In hindsight, would I be wanting to do Portrush in the year that we would be potentially leaving the European Union without a deal? No.

“The future of the border is the number one concern. We have over 2,000 containers, some from as far afield as the Middle East, to get across the Irish Sea and we start building on April 2.

“We have engagement with ministers and Parliament but the concern is all around certainty. If you know the rules you’re playing by then you can play, you optimise what you’ve got.

Always about the rules, Martin. Back to Brexit, he added:

We are concerned that we start building in April. What will be the situation? Will there be any border or not? We need some certainty. we need to know what rules we need to comply with.

“We have developed multiple contingency plans. We’ve advanced some, deferred others, but like every business we’re trying to work contingency plans into an uncertain environment.

“We’ll make it happen though. It doesn’t threaten the staging, we will make it happen. It’s just more complex than we anticipated. For the insiders it’s a bit harder but for everyone outside it won’t impact at all, they won’t notice.

A few hours later, Slumbers was backed into a corner regarding his comments but he insisted there is nothing to worry about:

There is no doubt in my mind that it is going be an historic occasion.

“We are determined to deliver an outstanding Championship at Royal Portrush and stage the biggest ever sporting event ever to be held on the island of Ireland.

So can everyone please stop worrying? Slumbers says it will be fine. And if there is one thing I’ve learned from Brexit so far, is that we should absolutely trust the people that say everything will be fine.

Here’s what you did win

Will we ever go another full week without Rory McIlroy making the headlines?

People were spitting feathers at his decision to cut back on his European Tour schedule in 2019, and the same people (I assume) were even more upset when he announced he wouldn’t play in the Irish Open, choosing instead the Scottish as his preparation for the Portrush Open AKA “the biggest event of my life”.

But it’s OK, because the European Tour have announced that heading to Lahinch in July are Shane Lowry, Lee Westwood and Danny Willett, whom they rather over-confidently describe as “the last three Rolex Series winners” – which literally means nothing to anyone anywhere other than those players’ accountants.

Brexit

Right, that’s enough from me. If you’ve got this far, well done, now here is some work by proper grown-up journalists for you to enjoy, including Steve Carroll’s incredible tale of Jack Percival’s rise from sleeping on the streets to award-winning greenkeeper.

Elsewhere, travel editor Chris Bertram reveals just how utterly soul-destroying it can be to get golfers to talk to you at events and it’s hilarious yet oh so real, while Mark Townsend analysed that shot by Tiger Woods last week and explained why we should all be careful what we wish for.

See you next week.

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Alex Perry

Alex Perry

Alex has been the editor of National Club Golfer since 2017. A Devonian who enjoys wittering on about his south west roots, Alex moved north to join NCG after more than a decade in London, the last five of which were with ESPN. Away from golf, Alex follows Torquay United and spends too much time playing his PlayStation or his guitar and not enough time practising his short game.

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