The Royal & Ancient Golf Club, Royal Liverpool Golf Club and the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral have concluded an agreement which paves the way for the Open Championship to return to Hoylake.
The Open was last played over the Hoylake links in 1967 when Argentinean Roberto de Vicenzo won his only major title. Since then, the demands of the Open in terms of infrastructure, space and traffic have ruled Royal Liverpool out as an Open venue.
Now it looks likely that the Open will return to Hoylake within the foreseeable future following the signing of a three-way agreement which defines mutual responsibility and obligation and sets out criteria of accessibility, travel, accommodation, traffic, car parking, spectator access and infrastructure that have to be met.
The recent purchase by the club of 10 acres of land adjacent to the course, plus the ability to build a new practice ground close to Meols Drive on the Municipal Course owned by Wirral Council, has helped to accelerate the Open’s return to the Wirral peninsula.
Kieran O’Brien, Captain of Royal Liverpool said “This most welcome announcement by the R&A will put Hoylake at the forefront of championship links golf again. The Club has been graced with some illustrious Open Champions of whom Bobby Jones, who won here in 1930, his Grand Slam year, deserves special mention. I speak for all the members of Royal Liverpool and, I hope, for the people of the Wirral and Merseyside, in expressing our delight that the Club will again stage the Open Championship and produce yet another worthy winner of the Claret Jug.”
“There has never been any doubt that Hoylake is one of our very best links courses but before we could consider taking the Open there many logistics had to be clarified” said Peter Dawson, Secretary of the R&A. “Now that most of these have been resolved we are delighted that Royal Liverpool Golf Club is returning to the list of Open Championship venues.”
“Playing host to a major tournament like the Open will be a marvellous boost for the area,” added Cllr Steve Foulkes, Leader of Wirral Council, “and we will be doing everything possible to support this world-famous event. This really is a wonderful opportunity – and great news for everyone in Wirral.”
Royal Liverpool, which was founded in 1869, has hosted the Open 10 times and has also been a regular venue for other R&A Championships, hosting the Amateur Championship 18 times including the inaugural championship in 1885.
The players who have won the Open at Hoylake are 10 of golf’s best known names from the past and include Bobby Jones, who as an amateur in 1930 won the Grand Slam – the Open and Amateur Championships of both Great Britain and the United States of America.
The Open Championship www.opengolf.com
Royal & Ancient Golf Club www.RandA.org
ROYAL LIVERPOOL OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS
1897 Harold Hilton (A) 314
1902 Alex Herd 307
1907 Arnaud Massy 312
1913 JH Taylor 304
1924 Walter Hagen 301
1930 Bobby Jones (A) 291
1936 Alf Padgham 287
1947 Fred Daly 293
1956 Peter Thomson 286
1967 Roberto de Vicenzo 278