Turnberry set to remain on Open rota

The chief executive of golf’s governing body, the R + A has said it would be unthinkable for Turnberry to be dropped from the Open Championship rota despite Donald Trumnp’s takeover.

Speaking last week before The Open began, Peter Dawson said that Turnberry is very much still in the R + A’s plans.

“It is very popular with the players and it has provided a huge amount of drama in the past.

“It is unthinkable that it wouldn’t be an Open venue.”

Turnberry last hosted the Open in 2009 when Tom Watson came so close to winning a historic sixth Open title at the age of 59 but was eventually beaten by his countryman Stewart Cink in a play-off.

Bar St Andrews, every other Open course is on roughly a ten year cycle to host golf’s oldest major meaning Turnberry would host The Open in 2019.

However, that slot looks set to be given to Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland which has been brought back on the list of the courses on the Open rota after a successful staging of the Irish Open in 2012.

Coupled with the fact that Royal Birkdale and Carnoustie have been announced as The Open courses for 2017 and 2018 respectively and that Turnberry crowds are the lowest on the rota, fears for its future as an Open venue had started to grow.

Dawson’s words in the week of The Open seem to have allayed those fears though and he also commented on the proposed changes to the course that Mr Trump is planning alongside architect Martin Ebert.

The 10th and 11th holes will be moved nearer to the rocks, with work set to begin immediately after the Ailsa Course hosts the Women’s Open next year

Speaking to our sister title The Scotsman, he said: “We have talked about these changes for a number of years, to be fair,” replied Dawson to being asked about them. The tenth and 11th in particular are two holes that have been looked at.

“If we’d been able to get the par-3 11th more into the rocks from a forward tee that would have allowed the tenth green to go back towards the coast where the 11th tee is now. That
would be a great change.

“That’s not new and Martin Ebert, who has done a lot of work with us, including Turnberry, has been party to that. Donald has now engaged Martin to do the work.

“They are thinking about other things, I understand, and the detail for that is far from complete. I believe that includes the ninth and they have assured us that we will be consulted in due course.”