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Future (British) Open Championship Venues

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

It has been announced that Royal Portrush In Northern Ireland will host the Open, probably in 2019. The crowds there were ridiculous when it hosted the Irish Open a few years back, for an Open with Gmac, Rors and (less) Big Darren numbers will be off the charts.

 

On a related note someone at my club told me that Royal St Georges had come off the Open rota because of terrible transport links and lack of accommodation, I can't find anything on the 'net, anyone heard anything?

post #2 of 17
Haven't heard anything about St Georges, but it hosted in 2011 so if it comes back it will be 2020 or 2021. I hope Turnberry and Carnoustie get the 2017 and 2018 opens
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

I'd say its a pretty good bet that one of 2017 or 2018 will be at Birkdale. With 15 at St Andrews, 16 at Troon, then if 2 Scottish courses in 17 & 18 then Portrush in 19 you'd end up with a 6 year gap between Open's held in England which I can't see happening, Birkdale is the next English course due an Open.

post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wansteadimp View Post

I'd say its a pretty good bet that one of 2017 or 2018 will be at Birkdale. With 15 at St Andrews, 16 at Troon, then if 2 Scottish courses in 17 & 18 then Portrush in 19 you'd end up with a 6 year gap between Open's held in England which I can't see happening, Birkdale is the next English course due an Open.
Yeah that is true. I do prefer Carnoustie and Turnberry over Birkdale, but I prefer Carnasty slightly over Turnberry
post #5 of 17

It's a reasonably badly kept secret that Brikdale is to be awarded 2017, and Carnoustie 2018. 

 

Portrush was always likely to get 2019 when the USPGA announced plans to possibly take their own major there (talk about parking your tanks on the enemies lawn). The earliest they could have come ashore under their current contracts was 2020 however, which made the decision to go back to Northern Ireland a fait accompli as 2019 ensured the R&A could plant the flag first 

 

That leaves 2020 as the next date, which should, all things being equal, see it return to St Andrews on the current roster that allows the home of golf to host every 5 years 

 

Donald Trump is believed to have been given assurances that Turnberry will stay on the roster provided he doesn't start doing anything that the R&A disapproves of. Trump for his part has given those assurances. In any other language its called a 'done deal'. My own suspicion is that the relationship between Trump and the R&A is damned sight better than popular myth would have you believe. Trump wants to be taken seriously as a credible man of golf, and the R&A can lend him gravitas in that direction. It's in both parties interest to work together

 

My read therefore is that 2022 is the first spare date thats up for grabs

 

I was given to understand that Royal St Georges is likely to be saved given Sandwich's geography. It's the only course in the South East, and the R&A's only 'window on London'. They're not about to throw that overboard when they have three other English courses rostered on the Lancashire coast.

 

Carnoustie is safe. I've heard the occasional view from HQ that its regarded as the best course on the current roster

 

The word I've heard is that Lytham has the most to worry about, but there is the spectre of Muirfield lurking circa 2022/23

 

The issue of gender politics won't go away and both Royal St Georges and Muirfield will be in the firing line by then. Reading between the lines, I think there's an expectation that St Georges will move. The biggest objection you tend to hear is more to do with whether or not the course relies too heavily on luck given its undulations? Bill Rogers, Sandy Lyle, Greg Norman, Ben Curtis and Darren Clarke are the last five winners there

 

I suspect that after an absence of nearly five years on the schedule I've sketched out though (Birkdale 2017) they'll want to go back to England in 2022, which probably means, St Georges, and they can then kick the Muirfield can down the road until 2023 and see how the land lies then

 

I'm struggling to think Muirfield will change their rules however. They don't need the Open. That simple. Crikey, they even kicked Tom Watson and Ben Crenshaw off the course for trespass in 1980 after they tried playing a few sneaky holes on conclusion of the event

 

If Muirfield is omitted then Lytham might get a reprieve, and by 2024 of course Troon is rolling again. Troon face the same issue, and could go either way, albeit their fate will be known depending on how St Georges and Muirfield are resolved

 

I'm not sure what the contractual arrangement is with Hoylake, but there has to be a question mark over whether they comply with the 'best available' criteria. I don't really see that Hoylake gives you anything that Birkdale doesn't, albeit the course remains hugely popular with players and adminsitrators alike. Scotland has quite a few courses that are consistently ranked above Royal Liverpool. I personally wouldn't be averse to losing Hoylake, and although there's nothing in the competitions constitution that says it has to be shared round Britain (its called 'the Open Championship of Golf' - not the British Open) I wouldn't completely lose sight of the significance that the Seniors is being held at Royal Portcawl, Wales, this year. The Welsh track is known to be under consideration, and is normally regarded as a better course than Hoylake 

 

Of the replacement courses that might step up (always the most fun) the more I thought about this recently, the more I came to a shocking conclusion

 

By 2022/23 the Trump International will have bedded down!!! No, seriously -

 

The course is well regarded as a golfing challenge and has been built to Championship spec. At the moment the hotel requirement isn't in place as Donald fights Alex Salmond over wind turbines, but they still have time on their side. If Castle Stuart can host Scottish Opens in a shorter period of bed down time, I don't see why Trump couldn't. It's only a couple of miles outside of Aberdeen, which last time I checked at least, was bigger than Dundee (Carnoustie) Troon, Turnberry, St Andrews, Lytham (Blackpool) and Sandwich

 

The one I'd be really interested to see if the R&A were brave enough to look at seriously is Royal Dornoch. Yes it would require road infrastructure improvement, and a top drawer course hotel, but the Highlands are a European Assisted Area Objective 1, capable of levering in ERDF money for the first. The Scottish government could match fund that, and between them a fighting fund could be put up to lever in private sector investment on the hotel side. Unlike Carnoustie of course, Inverness/ Dornoch, does have a legitimate tourist industry outside of golf, albeit they could do with finding a monster in the Loch! Inverness is also one of the fatest growing cities in Europe at the moment on the back of an IT boom with the result that its accommodation capacity and support infrastructure is improving. The old argument of gate receipts is no longer as important as it once was to the economics of the Open. TV deals and sponsors tend to pay the piper these days

 

Finally, coming back to Menie, I would say never under-estimate the capacity of sport to do counter-intuitive things

 

Could it be, that in order to make golf more accessible and broaden its gender appeal, Muirfield is lost to the roster, and Donald Trump (of all people) ends up as the beneficiary!!! It's a funny old world sometimes

post #6 of 17

There's a simpler way of looking at it really I suppose. The R&A have said that the current roster is about right (8 + St Andrews twice = 10)

 

With Portrush back on the roll, the portfolio is strengthend with the inclusion of another top-20 venue. If the roster is right though, one has to drop off in this game of musical chairs, and five have got question marks over them

 

Muirfield = gender politics, & congestion, but the loss of a top-10 venue

Troon = gender poltics

St Georges = gender poltics, congestion and a question mark over the courses vaguaries, but the loss of the only course in the London catchment

Hoylake = course quality

Lytham = A bit tired and course quality. For reasons I don't really understand, it seems to be the one in the crosshairs

 

Now it's possible of course that all five might be lost, and a very quiet revolution is taking place. I doubt it. I expect St Georges to be retained, and wouldn't like to guess which way Troon will go. I suspect they'll eventually acquiesce but it wouldn't be guaranteed.

 

We could easily find that Muirfield is quietly dropped though, and one of Lytham, Hoylake & Birkdale is also dropped. Well there's no chance that Birkdale will be, but in order to present geography as the reason, they'd have to be included on the appraisal, even though its obvious that its Lytham and Hoylake that would be under consideration. I can only assume however, that Hoylake has a contract to host three when it was reintroduced? After that has been fulfilled perhaps they'll quietly be dropped too, with the Trump man waiting in the wings!

post #7 of 17
Are there other new venues up for consideration? Royal Cinque Ports held two opens, marvellous course, far better than St George's, for example. Royal Dornoch, great call
post #8 of 17

Porthcawl are known to have had an assessment panel visit, and there would have to be a very real prospect that the Welsh Assembly government will throw money at it in much the same way as they did to bring a 2009 Ashes test match to Cardiff, or the Ryder Cup itself to Celtic Manor. My own understanding is that the submission is credible, but that it's likely to come up short.

 

I don't think Cinque Ports is under consideration.

 

You hear the occasional murmur that Kingsbarns might be the next Scottish cab on the rank, and it's often held to be better than some courses currently hosting (trying to be tactful here). It would need a course hotel building, but that wouldn't be outside the realms of possibility. If Muirfield is to be lost however (and I think its likely) then there would be some pressure to try and find an Edinburgh facing venue. Kingsbarns is in Fife rather than Lothian, but is about an hour away (on a good day) from the capital. I'm not sure that any of other Lothian venues are either up to modern championship configuration (North Berwick) or don't fall foul of the same membership rules that have done for Muirfield (Renaissance Club). Gullane is being touted to host the Scottish Open after it returns to Castle Stuart next year, and I think that's a very real prospect, but their number 1 course, despite acting as a final qualifying venue loads of times, doesn't really look up to the Open

 

Might Northern Ireland go for a second venue in the medium term? Don't see it myself

 

The new links courses that have been built in the last couple of decades, have nearly all been built in Scotland. Kingsbarns, Castle Stuart and now the Trump International have all gone into Golf Digest's top-100. There's other very exclusive private clubs, and few lesser courses too. I can't really see that there's any English candidates on the horizon. I'd have thought Porthcawl and some of the ones I've noted in Scotland are the most likely. 

 

Dornoch is a purely personal fantasy of mine. 

 

Kingsbarns I think could do it, but it's more likely to remain as it is supporting the Dunhill

 

Royal Aberdeen hosts the Scottish Open this year, but the more you think about it, the one you keep coming back to as the course you can't really strike a line through over the medium term probably is Trumps at Balmedie

post #9 of 17
What about Loch Lomond, which I have had the good fortune to play? Has held theScottish Open a number of times, marvellous course and setting, close to Glasgow? Members might object to crowds and pros ruining a course that is like visiting a different world
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Klinsie View Post

What about Loch Lomond, which I have had the good fortune to play? Has held theScottish Open a number of times, marvellous course and setting, close to Glasgow? Members might object to crowds and pros ruining a course that is like visiting a different world

Not a links course, which precludes it from consideration. If the Open ever expands to inland courses, it would be to some of the great heathland courses in greater London, especially if St. George's is being phased out (and I'm not inclined to believe that adding Portrush to the Open comes at the expense of an established course).
post #11 of 17

Question of trying to decode the R&A who I think described the current roster as "about right", which isn't the same thing as 'set in stone'

 

In this case the "about right" description related to the structure, rather than the identity of the courses, which was always subjected to the mantra of "best available" under the "about right" maxim of eight plus two St Andrews to make up ten. They might always move to a single St Andrews event every decade, but a combination of sponsors, players, TV channels, and spectators will want a St Andrews with greater frequency than that you assume. Attendances might not be the be all and end all, any longer, but they're still a consideration. Figures for Muirfield were well down last year compared to when it hosted previously, albeit this could be due to the economy, a Faldo affect that wasn't working in 2013, or a boycott 

 

If "About right" means defending the current structure, then clearly someone has to drop off. The R&A would be loathed to lose Muirfield, that will only come about through sponsors and public pressure. They'll leave that hanging and hoping I suspect, but my own view is that the march of time is turning the tide here, and at some point in the future that decision will be made

 

Mind you, there's a spectre of a vote for Scottish independence later this year to consider (not that it would alter anything I suspect) but its caused a few ill-informed letters to appear in the British print media. My own view is that the 'Open Championship of Golf' is actually a Scottish event, invented by Scots, first played in Scotland, and with a trophy paid for by three Scottish clubs. It's the English who are the cuckoos.

 

Ban England!!!

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 

Birkdale in 2017 and Carnoustie in 2018.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/golf/28113589

post #13 of 17

It was on the cards

 

2019 is PortRush then, 2020 should be St Andrews on the five year rotation, and 2021 has to be Turnberry.

 

2022 will likely be in England. Royal St Georges is the obvious call provided they've softened up their gender issues. That will then be used as leverage against Muirfield in 2023, who will in turn tell the R&A to shove it, handing Lytham a life line, or allowing Trump, Aberdeen, Kingsbarns, Castle Stuart, Portcawl or Dornoch in as a new venue. Of those I've mentioned, Portcawl is probably nearest, but don't discount the possbility that Trump has made up ground by then. I can only really see Kingsbarns being used if St Andrews drops to rotate every 7 or 8 years, possibly even 10, and I simply don't see what incentive the R&A have to do that?

 

I do wonder if Gullane might get in the frame yet though as an Edinburgh course. It would require some work to enhance it, but it's the scope. It's been shortlisted to host the Scottish Open in the future and that would be a first step

post #14 of 17

The rumours among the locals at Muirfield last year was this was the last Open for a generation. Its a shame because it one of the best venues but run by dinosaurs.

The other quality course's  are Carnoustie, Turnberry and Birkdale. St Andrews is weak but has the history and commercial value. While Lytham is a better and a fairer test of golf that Sandwich I think it is pencilled for 2021.

 

On golf courses alone Royal County Down and Royal Dornoch would be included but lack infra-structure.

 

One other thought is what happens if Scotland goes independent in September. Have the R&A considered this or my thought would be make it the British Isles Open and include Ballybunion and Lahinch a couple of world class links.

post #15 of 17

Personally I'm pretty sure the R&A will carry on regardless of the independence vote, as it's only in America that the 'British' prefix is used. The tournament is still called 'the Open Championship of golf' there's no requirement for it to fulfil a quasi English/ Scottish rotation even.

 

I really can't see the conservative protestant leaning R&A taking a share of the spoils to the Irish Republic to be honest. Why would they?

 

Quite apart from many things, the infrastructure (particularly hotels) in Ireland is pretty poor under normal conditions, without landing an apex sporting event on them. The general feeling was that they did a bad a job of the Ryder Cup too with many providers premium pricing and it took about 10 years to recover lost market share as many people seemingly left having had a bad experience and didn't return

 

Turnberry last hosted in 2009, so I'd guess they were due 2021 having already been 2 years wrong on the rotation, but that was me guessing

 

I tend to agree with you Victor, that I don't see how they're going to break the Muirfield log jam. Muirfield only admits members in its own image so it won't change. The R&A have to win their own vote first though (and I'm far from convinced that's a foregone conclusion)

 

There's also the spectre of Troon not to forget as well. They're next hosting right in the shadow of the Olympics and I'm sure the world's golf family are going to really be appreciative of how the agenda gets hijacked by the British media asking probing questions of the IOC on the back of a few hundred Royal Troon members

 

County Down was one that occurred to me, but as you say, the issues they face are even more severe than those at Dornoch. I'm personally of the view Dornoch could be introduced with a bit of imagination. Inverness continues to grow and the area does have a legitmate tourist draw outside of the golf which should help lever in hotel investment. I suppose on the same token, perhaps Castle Stuart shouldn't be overlooked either

 

I wonder if there's any clues in how the Scottish Open has been handled. Aberdeen Asset Management sponser along with the Scottish government. We know the latter is no lover of Muirfield and it might be significant that Gullane are being lined up to host in the future. There was a time when they tried establishing it inland at Loch Lomond and Gleneagles, but in the last couple of years Castle Stuart has taken it, and next week it's at Royal Aberdeen. There's been a slow shift onto links courses in other words. Coincidence? I've got no idea, but the Scottish government won't want to lose Open venues so will be keen to put replacements forward and demonstrate that they're viable if Troon, and more likely of course, Muirfield, are to be lost

post #16 of 17

I think an English course may get the nod for 2021 (Probably Sandwich) as would be 4 years since Birkdale. While the course at Turnberry is quality the R&A don't like it because of the isolation and the loss of revenue and tend to delay returning as long as possible . However Trump may  send the R&A a few big brown envelopes to compensate!!!.

 

On a side issue it looks like my home course of Gullane has been awarded the Scottish Open next year.

post #17 of 17

Gullane's been confirmed has it? good for them.

 

Although I missed the announcement and ceremonial smashing of a bottle of malt against the Stevenson  lighthouse, I noticed today that the 'T  word' is now being used in their website to prefix the courses name for the first time (or first time I'd noticed it anyway)

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