Wirral emerges as favourite for The Open golf championship in 2014
WIRRAL is emerging as the favourite to stage The Open golf championship in 2014.
An R&A spokesman last night said there was “a reasonable expectation” the tournament would return to Royal Liverpool at Hoylake before 2015.
Muirfield, in Scotland, was this week announced as the venue for the 2013 event, and it is expected to return north to St Andrews on its five-yearly cycle in 2015.
That means an English venue will almost certainly be chosen in 2014, due to organisers the R&A’s commitment to support courses in both countries.
The Open returned to the Royal Liverpool course at Hoylake in 2006 after a 39-year gap, an event which turned into a sun-drenched classic, returning the Wirral venue to the list of nine potential venues.
Last night, a spokesman for the R&A said they could not comment on future venues and that it will be around this time next year before they formally announce where the Open will be in 2014.
But he added: “There are nine Championship courses in the UK that the R&A have used in the modern era.
“They include the Royal Liverpool, Royal Birkdale, Royal Lytham St Anne’s and Royal St George's.
“The Open has been coming to England’s Golf Coast with a bit of frequency.
“You would expect, if there are nine courses and St Andrews is used twice every 10 years, there would be a reasonable expectation it would come around every eight or nine years.
“If Royal Liverpool was last used in 2006, then 2014 would not be out of the question.”
The event is estimated to be worth around £80m to the local economy, with tourism receiving a major boost from the event.
Lorraine Rogers, chief executive of Liverpool City Region’s official tourist board The Mersey Partnership, said: “We very much hope The Open will return in 2014.
“The 2006 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool was a stunning success in every respect and demonstrated the region’s ability and capacity to deliver huge events.
“Attracting more of these major events is crucial, and, if The Open is to return in 2014, we look forward to reaping the enormous benefits major international events bring to our visitor economy.
“Liverpool City Region has staged The Open twice in the last three years (including Birkdale, in 2008) confirming the appeal of England’s Golf Coast to the world’s greatest players and golf enthusiasts.” THE DAILY POST