• Open Championship

Birkdale and Carnoustie to host Open again

ESPN staff
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Padraig Harrington was victorious last time the Open was held at Royal Birkdale © Getty Images
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The R&A announced on Tuesday that the Open Championship will be held at Royal Birkdale in 2017 and Carnoustie the following year.

Birkdale, in Southport, last hosted in 2008 and Carnoustie in 2007, where Ireland's Padraig Harrington won both.

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After this year's Open at Royal Liverpool, the Open goes back to St Andrews next year followed by Royal Troon in 2016. If various issues can be worked out, the Open is expected to go to Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland in 2019 - the first time since 1951.

If the R&A keeps its five-year schedule for St Andrews, the Old Course would again host the tournament in 2020.

Five-time Open Champion Tom Watson, who won The Open at Royal Birkdale in 1983 and at Carnoustie in 1975, said: "I am delighted to see the Open returning to these two great venues.

"I know both courses are held in high regard by the players and I certainly consider them to be wonderful tests of golf.

"When I first played in the Open at Carnoustie I still had a lot to learn about links golf but I quickly adapted to the challenge of playing in the wind and keeping the ball low. I played well that week and was thrilled to win the play-off."

Watson, who has been handed a one-year extension to his Open exemption so he can bow out at St Andrews, added: "Royal Birkdale is also a fine links course and I have always thoroughly enjoyed playing there. I think the players and the fans will be excited to see the top players playing these courses once again."

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