Jun 7th, 2017
Wales to host The Open?
Not according to the R&A...
Words: Tim Southwell Photography: Getty Images
There have been 145 Open Championships in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. But never in Wales. The R&A have stated they have no intention of holding an Open in Wales. But is that the end of it?
Royal Porthcawl might need some development to get 'Open ready' but it's a magnificent golf course, very popular with tour pros and amateurs alike, and has hosted significant events in recent years including Walker Cup, British Seniors Open (2104) and the Amateur Championship (2016)
Wales sporting officials are hoping they can persuade the R&A to break from tradition and try something new.
"There are opportunities to host more golfing events and I'm keen to discuss with the R&A the potential of Wales to host the British Open," said Economy Minster Ken Skates.
"I think it is right that if we call it a British Open that it should be hosted in Wales and I'm to keen to make sure that discussions take place with the R&A on that.
"I'll be meeting with The R&A again this summer to discuss how we take forward the potential of a British Open being staged in Wales. I think it is our time," he said.
Royal Porthcawl attracted 43,000 spectators to the 2014 Seniors Open but would need extensive development to host an event of the magnitude of The Open, which packed in about 175,000 fans at Royal Troon in Ayrshire last year and is expected to host over 200,000 fans at Birkdale in a few weeks.
Roads leading to the course are narrow and residential, while local public transport could struggle to cater for the huge crowds that Open Championships attract. But nothing that some good old fashioned planning, blood, sweat and tears couldn't overcome.
The R&A has previously said that said it had "no intention" of hosting the competition in Wales, which until 2014 hosted an annual Wales Open tournament at Celtic Manor in Newport.
The Open venues are confirmed until 2020, but Wales, and Porthcawl in particular are waiting in the wings.
Next four Open venues:
- 2017 -- Royal Birkdale Golf Club
- 2018 -- Carnoustie
- 2019 -- Royal Portrush Golf Club
- 2020 -- Royal St. George's