The R&A has announced that Royal Liverpool Golf Club will host The Open Championship in 2014. It will be the 12th time the Hoylake links has hosted golf’s oldest Major.
The venue has witnessed a string of unique Open Champions: in 1907, Arnaud Massy became the only Frenchman to have won the title; Fred Daly became the first Irishman to do so, in 1947; and Argentine golfer Roberto De Vicenzo became the first South American to win a Major when he lifted the Claret Jug in 1967.
When The Open returned to Hoylake in 2006 after a 39-year absence, Tiger Woods became the first back-to-back Open Champion since Tom Watson in 1983 in front of 230,000 people, a record attendance for the Championship in England.
Two of the three amateurs to have won The Open were Royal Liverpool members: Hoylake-born John Ball Jr, the first Englishman to win The Open, lifted the Claret Jug at Prestwick in 1890; and Harold Hilton, who, on his home course in 1897, won his second title at the first Open Championship to be staged in the north west of England. The only other amateur winner is Bobby Jones, who won his third Open at Hoylake in 1930: the second of four steps to his unprecedented and unmatched Grand Slam.
In 1885, Hoylake hosted the inaugural Amateur Championship – the first of 17 to date – and, in 1921, it staged the first international match between Great Britain and the USA, a contest which would later become the Walker Cup Match.
“We are delighted that The Open is returning to Royal Liverpool after a relatively short period of time,” said David Hill, The R&A’s Director of Championships. “In 2006, Hoylake showcased links golf at its best and players, spectators and officials were united in their praise for the course, and for the venue as a whole.
“We would like to thank the Club’s officials for their unfailing co-operation, which has enabled the Championship to come back to Royal Liverpool, a Club whose history is interwoven with both The Open and The R&A.”
Paul Cassidy, Captain of Royal Liverpool Golf Club added, “We are very proud of our Club’s rich heritage and the many memorable golfing moments staged at Hoylake since our founding in 1869 and are extremely thrilled to be again invited to host The Open Championship in 2014. We are thoroughly looking forward to working with both The R&A and Wirral Council in the planning, organisation and staging of another successful Major championship.”
With The Open Championship estimated to boost the local economy by £70m each time it is played in the north west of England, the news has also been welcomed by Councillor Steve Foulkes, Leader of Wirral Council.
“This is fantastic news for Wirral. We look forward to getting ready to welcome new visitors to the Peninsula as well as returning golf fans who enjoyed themselves so much with us four years ago,” said Councillor Foulkes.
“The return of one of the world’s biggest sporting events to Royal Liverpool Golf Club is not only great for Wirral, but the whole of the North West. We are absolutely committed to ensuring local residents, businesses and golf fans alike benefit from this fantastic opportunity once more.”
The Open Championship www.opengolf.com
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