The R&A is inviting golf fans around the world to take part in a special celebration of golf’s original championship following the cancellation of The Open at Royal St George’s this year.
‘The Open for The Ages’ will bring together many of golf’s greatest champions for the first time to compete against each other over the Old Course at St Andrews in an innovative three-hour broadcast production.
This exclusive edition of The Open features 50 years of archive footage expertly edited and woven together with modern graphics and new commentary to imagine an Open Championship contested by the legends of the sport including Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Seve Ballesteros, Tom Watson, Sir Nick Faldo and Rory McIlroy.
‘The Open for The Ages’ will culminate in a final round programme that will air on Sunday 19 July, when it will be broadcast globally to fans around the world on TV, TheOpen.com and The Open’s social media channels. The broadcast is being supported by HSBC and NTT DATA, both patrons of The Open.
Coverage of the first three rounds of ‘The Open for The Ages’ on July 16-18 will be provided by in-play clips, live leaderboards and end of play highlights across The Open’s social media channels.
The winner will be determined by a fan vote, which has registered more than 10,000 responses, and a data model developed in partnership with NTT DATA that utilises player career statistics alongside the input by fans to calculate the champion.
Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A, said: “Golf is one of the very few sports where this concept can be created and brought to life. The way in which the sport is filmed allows us a truly unique opportunity to reimagine history and bring together the greatest players from many different eras on a scale which has not been done before, either in golf or in other sports.
“We are all keenly feeling the absence of The Open from the global sporting calendar this year and so we hope that this broadcast will generate real interest and enjoyment for the millions of golf and sports fans who closely follow the Championship every year.”
Laurence Norman, VP Sports Technology at NTT DATA UK, said: “Technology is synonymous with modern sport, helping athletes compete at optimum performance levels. What’s even more exciting is the new emphasis on technology being utilised to enhance fan experiences.
“Building stronger fan engagement through technology is the future of sports, and while it will never replace the thrill of live events, The Open for The Ages demonstrates how technology can keep pushing the boundaries of what it is possible in sports broadcasting.”
The R&A’s international TV broadcast partners, including Sky Sports in the UK, NBC Sports and NBC Golf Channel in the USA, and TV Asahi in Japan, will televise ‘The Open for The Ages’ to fans all around the world. It will also be made available via TheOpen.com and The Open’s YouTube and Facebook channels.
Experienced golf broadcasters Ewen Murray, Nick Dougherty, Butch Harmon and Iona Stephen will provide the commentary.