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Turnberry is 'still on the Open rota'

Ayrshire course remains on list of venues to stage the world’s oldest pro championship, says R&A chief exec

By Martin Inglis

The chief executive of the R&A, Martin Slumbers, has reaffirmed that Trump Turnberry is still very much part of the Open Championship rota – but added that it will not host golf’s oldest major until 2022 at the earliest.

The Ayrshire venue’s position as one of the nine venues on the Open rota has been shrouded in controversy over the past year due to the resort being owned by US presidential candidate Donald Trump.

But Slumbers, who is overseeing his first Open Championship after taking over the reins from Peter Dawson, says there have been no plans to remove Turnberry, which last hosted the Open in 2009 when Stewart Cink, right, defeated Tom Watson in a play-off.

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“I’ve been very clear around this: Turnberry was and is part of the pool of courses for the Open Championship,” said Slumbers. “There are, at the moment, nine courses, of which Turnberry is one of those.

“We are also very close to announcing 2020 and 2021, one of which will be in England and one of which will be in St Andrews. We don’t have to consider beyond that for a couple of years, and we’ll be picking that up in a couple of years’ time.”

Turnberry has hosted the Open on four occasions. The first of those was in 1977, when Tom Watson defeated Jack Nicklaus in the famous ‘Duel in the Sun’. It subsequently staged the championship in 1986 and 1994, when Greg Norman and Nick Price were the respective winners before Cink’s victory in 2009.

OUTRAGE

Meanwhile, Slumbers also added that he had no opinion on the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers’ decision to have another vote on admitting women members later this year, saying it was entirely down to membership. The club’s Muirfield course was stripped of hosting the Open immediately after the result of the vote in May, which sparked widespread media outrage after the club failed to get the two-thirds majority vote needed to pass the motion.

However, the club has subsequently decided to revisit the matter before 2016 is out.

“A decision around membership is a matter for the club,” said Slumbers. “All we care about is the outcome of the vote.”

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