Above: 2008 Open Champion Padraig Harrington playing his second shot into the 18th hole at Royal Birkdale, Southport.
The Royal Open to be held in Southport in 2017 will be the first in 60 years not to be shown live on terrestrial television.
The 146th Open Championship in July 2017 is to be held at Southport’s Royal Birkdale golf club. This is the first year that Sky will be broadcast the even live on Sky Sports as part of a new contract won by the broadcaster.
The BBC has screened the tournament for the previous 60-years, and this is the first time it will be shown on Sky Sports.
Local final qualifying will be at Southport & Ainsdale, Hillside and Formby Golf Club.
Above: The Hillside putting green during the 1998 Open Quailfying.
The BBC will still show TV highlights and live coverage on radio.
The R&A, golf’s governing body, said the new deal will allow it to provide financial support to golf participation initiatives.
The Open is golf’s oldest tournament and has been played in Britain and Ireland since 1860.
The organisers estimate that it brings economic benefits worth £100 million to a host region.
The BBC quoted: We are “disappointed” with the decision, adding: “We’re pleased to be continuing our 60 year partnership with The R&A and feel that a comprehensive two-hour highlights programme – a format which has already proven successful – in a prime-time slot over four days will allow us to continue to bring all the best action and key moments from The Open to a large free-to-air audience on TV, radio and online.”
Barney Francis, Sky Sports managing director, said: “The Open is the world’s preeminent golf championship and we are committed to taking coverage of the event to new levels.”
The new rights agreement also means Sky Sports will provide live coverage of The Walker Cup in 2019 at Royal Liverpool.
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