Royal Lytham and St Annes' hopes of staging golf's Open Championship are boosted by choice of Royal Troon for 2023
The announcement that Royal Troon will stage golf’s Open Championship in 2023 has boosted hopes around the Fylde coast that the event will make its long-awaited return to Royal and St Lytham St Annes three years later
Royal Troon staged The Open as recently at 2016 but has been chosen as host for the second time in seven years as governing body The Royal and Ancient (R&A) wishes to mark the centenary of its first staging at the Scottish west coast links in 1923.
All associated with Royal Lytham and St Annes are hoping the same sentiment is shown towards the famous Linksgate course in 2026 – the 100th anniversary of the first Open on the Fylde, when Bobby Jones was crowned champion.
Royal Lytham and St Annes has staged The Open 11 times but was last chosen in 2012. Of the established Open venues, only the Donald Trump-owned Turnberry has been waiting longer for golf’s most historic championship to return.
RL&SA has continued to prove its ability to stage the sport’s biggest events successfully in the last two years, hosting the 2018 Women’s British Open and last year the Senior British Open.
The R&A have admitted, however, that when it comes to The Open the size of RL&SA is a concern as it looks to maximise commercial success by accommodating bigger crowds and an ever-expanding tented village.
There was disappointment on the Fylde 12 months ago when Royal Liverpool was chosen ahead of RL&SA to host the 2022 Open, even though it has staged the event as recently as 2014.
Speaking at the time, R&A chief executive Martin Slumber did not rule out The Open’s return to RL&SA but said the venue was “a bit tight” and “a squeeze” compared to other options.
Of the 2023 return to Royal Troon, where Henrik Stenson won a thrilling championship four years ago, Slumbers said: “Royal Troon is one of the world’s greatest championships links. It has produced many memorable moments throughout the history of The Open, including the dramatic duel between Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson that captivated millions of fans around the world in 2016.
“We are very much looking forward to celebrating another milestone in the cherished history of The Open when we mark the 100th anniversary of the Championship first being played at Royal Troon.”
The 152nd Open will be played from July 20-23 2023 at Royal Troon.
Some 26 years passed between RL&SA’s first and second Opens, though the current gap is the longest since 1952.