Royal Birkdale to host 2017 Open

Royal Birkdale to host 2017 Open

Southport course to stage the biggest golf major outside of the US

The Open Championship will be held at Royal Birkdale in 2017 and Carnoustie the following year, the R&A has announced.

Birkdale last hosted the Open in 2008 when Padraig Harrington won his second consecutive Claret Jug after claiming his first at Carnoustie a year earlier.

The 143rd edition of golf's oldest major will begin on July 17 at Royal Liverpool with the tournament then moving to St Andrew's in 2015 and staying in Scotland at Royal Troon the following year.

The 2017 Championship in Southport will begin on July 20th.

Five-time Open winner Tom Watson claimed his first and last Championships at Carnoustie in 1975 and Birkdale in 1983 and was present at the R&A's announcement at the Greenbrier, West Virginia.

``I am delighted to see the Open returning to two great venues in Royal Birkdale and Carnoustie,'' he said. ``I know both courses are held in high regard by the players and I certainly consider them to be wonderful tests of golf.

``When I first played in the Open at Carnoustie I still had a lot to learn
about links golf but I quickly adapted to the challenge of playing in the wind
and keeping the ball low. I played well that week and was thrilled to win the play-off.

``Royal Birkdale is also a fine links course and I have always thoroughly enjoyed playing there. I think the players and the fans will be excited to see the top players playing these courses once again.''

Anticipation will now begin to build for the announcement of the 2019 Championship with Royal Portrush a possibility to host its first Open since 1951 after returning to the rotation last month.