The R&A has named Royal St George’s and Royal Lytham & St Annes as the venues for the 2011 and 2012 Open Championships.
Royal St George’s last hosted The Open Championship in 2003, when Ben Curtis, from the United States, won after a final round 69 that was good enough to hold off Thomas Bjorn, who led for most of the final day, and Vijay Singh by 1 stroke. This will be the fourteenth time that The Open has been staged at Sandwich, the southern-most venue on The Open rota.
On the two previous occasions when the Championship was played at Royal St George’s the Champions were Greg Norman in 1993 and Sandy Lyle in 1985, a victory that catalysed the most successful period in European golf. Indeed, Open Championships at Royal St George’s are steeped in the history of the game with previous winners including J H Taylor, Harry Vardon, Walter Hagen, Henry Cotton and Bobby Locke.
Royal Lytham & St Annes most recently hosted The Open in 2001 when David Duval of the United States shot a closing round of 67 to record a three shot win over Sweden’s Niclas Fasth.
That was the tenth time The Open had been played over the testing Lancashire Links since the legendary amateur Bobby Jones won the first there, in 1926. In the subsequent nine Opens at Lytham, Tony Jacklin, in 1969, remains the only British winner.
Over the years, both courses have been used extensively for R&A Championships, with Royal St George’s playing host to The Amateur Championship in 2006 and due to hold the Boys Amateur Championship in 2009, while Royal Lytham & St Annes was the venue for this year’s Amateur Championship in June.
Commenting on the announcement, David Hill, director of championships for The R&A said, “We are delighted that The Open is returning to Sandwich and Lytham, both outstanding championship courses that have produced a succession of worthy champions.
“The Open is a huge undertaking for any club and The R&A would therefore like to thank both clubs for their cooperation, which has enabled the Championship to return to these two fine venues.”
The R&A www.RandA.org