TROON, Scotland – Royal Troon will host the 2016 Open Championship, the R&A announced today.
Royal Troon is playing host this week to the world’s top amateurs, and will challenge the game’s top professionals four years from now when the Open Championship returns to the Ayrshire course for the first time since 2004.
The championship was expected to come back to Royal Troon in 2014, but the R&A delayed its return because of a busy sports schedule in Scotland that year, including the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.
“It’s just the way the rota’s worked out, on this occasion,” said Jim McArthur, chairman of the R&A’s championship committee. “With so much going on in sport these days, we have to think about taking the Open to the proper location each year.”
R&A chief executive Peter Dawson added: “I think also the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup in 2014 affected the sequencing.”
The Commonwealth Games will be held in Scotland in the summer of 2014.
The R&A has a slight problem with the 2016 Open Championship because of the inclusion of golf in that year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Scheduling is going to be tricky, and the R&A will have to consult widely to avoid a clash.
“A condition was pledged that no major golf event – men’s or women’s – would clash with the Olympic Games in 2016,” Dawson said. “That will be case. Just exactly how the schedule will pan out to make that happen is still under discussion.”
“The Open will definitely take place before the Olympics, as it normally would. The question is, with the juggling that has to go on in August to keep the pledge, does that have a knock-on effect? We’re still in discussion.”
“It (the Open) will definitely be in July, but it might be a week earlier. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Royal Troon has staged the game’s oldest championship on eight previous occasions since 1923. England’s Arthur Havers won the first Open Championship to be staged at Royal Troon, followed by Bobby Locke (1950), Arnold Palmer (1962), Tom Weiskopf (1973), Tom Watson (1982), Mark Calcavecchia (1989), Justin Leonard (1997) and Todd Hamilton (2004).
The course measures 7,181 yards for this week’s Amateur Championship, just six yards longer than the 7,175 yards that it played in 2004. Changes can be expected four years from now, too, but will be subject to discussion with the golf club.
“Since the last time, we’ve added mounding to the right of the 13th hole in the drive zone, which was a bit of a bailout zone in the past,” Dawson said. “We have a new back tee at the 15th, new back tee at the 16th as well as mounding left and right of the burn.
“We have a few more changes we want to discuss with the club in advance of 2016; as always it’s done with the agreement of the club and members. It’s still going to be Royal Troon, whatever happens.”