The 2009 Open Championship will be played at the Westin Turnberry Resort from 16 – 19 July, the fourth time that Turnberry has hosted The Open since it was added in 1977 to the list of Open venues.
As a location, it is unsurpassed for its dramatic seascape as a ‘backdrop’ to the world’s oldest major and as a challenging championship layout, it has produced three winners of the highest calibre.
Since Nick Price’s win in 1994, the demands of The Open have substantially increased and while Turnberry could adequately cater in relation to infrastructure and space, traffic management implications had to be resolved before a return to the Ayrshire links could be considered.
Commenting on the announcement, David Hill, Director of Championships for The R&A said, “There has never been any doubt that The Open would return to Turnberry, one of our very best links courses, but before reaching that decision we had to be convinced that every aspect of our forward planning process was in place to ensure a successful return to Turnberry in 2009.
“One element of that planning process was the implementation of a traffic management scheme to ease congestion and since South Ayrshire Council have commenced construction of a road link, essential to the scheme, we now have in place the final piece of the jigsaw.”
Turnberry’s general manager Stewart Selbie said, “This announcement consolidates years of work and co-operation between The R&A, South Ayrshire Council and ourselves. I am thrilled for everyone on the Turnberry team who has worked on this. In my six years here so many of the world’s best golfers have told me that they enjoy coming to Turnberry as one of the best Open venues in the world.
“This is not only a great story for Turnberry as we move into our centenary year in 2006, but for the whole of Ayrshire, which will again become the centre of the golfing universe in July 2009.”
Said a delighted Councillor David Duncan, Acting Leader of South Ayrshire Council: “This really is great news for South Ayrshire and the West of Scotland as a whole, both from a sporting and an economic point of view.
“I am appreciative of The R&A acknowledging that my Council’s significant investment in a major roads scheme has played an important part in helping ensure that Turnberry has been chosen for the 138th Open Championship.”
Councillor Duncan added; “In committing itself to the finances involved as part of the Council’s overall economic strategy for the area, we were obviously well aware of the potential benefits to the area in attracting an event such as The Open at Turnberry.”
Paul Burley, director of golf at Turnberry said, “It is fantastic news that the Open is returning to Turnberry. Having staged three outstanding Opens it is well deserved that this great championship returns to our legendary links. It is not by accident that previous Open winners at Turnberry happen to have been the best players in the world at the time. It is a reflection of the way the course was set up, its fairness and like all great golf courses, the Ailsa responds to superlative play.”
In conjunction with The R&A, work will begin this winter on the Ailsa Course to enhance it and ensure it is a challenge for the world’s best golfers. The Ailsa is regularly acknowledged as one of Britain’s top three courses as well as consistently being ranked in the world’s top 20 courses.