ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND - Officials from the St. Andrews Links Trust and the R&A announced on Monday that the 2021 Open Championship will be held at The Old Course.
It will mark the 150th playing of the game's most ancient championship, and the 30th time the event has been played at the Home of Golf. The 2021 Open Championship will be held July 15-18, 2021.
Said Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of the R&A, "The Open holds a very special place in the hearts of golf and sports fans around the world. The Championship enjoys a historic and celebrated relationship with the Old Course in St Andrews and we are excited to be marking the occasion of the 150th Championship at the home of golf in 2021."
The Old Course's Open Championship history dates back to 1873, when it became the second course to host the tournament after Prestwick Golf Club held the first dozen opens from 1860 to 1872 (the event was not held in 1871 due to lack of a trophy). But since Prestwick hasn't hosted the Open in nearly a century, The Old Course is the unquestioned leader of the "Open rota," having hosted the event in 2000, 2005, 2010 and most recently in 2015, when Zach Johnson held off Jordan Spieth and Marc Leishman in a four-hole aggregate playoff to claim his second career major championship.
The 2021 Open will break the every-five-years streak, but the extra year's wait makes sense in light of the accommodation for giving The Old Course the honor of hosting the 150th playing.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said, "As the world’s oldest and most prestigious professional golf championship, The Open is synonymous with both St Andrews and Scotland and I’m delighted St Andrews will welcome its 150th staging in 2021."
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What's to come
Fans and organizers will be hoping for a smoother week at St. Andrews in 2021 than 2015. Two-and-a-half years ago, torrential rains and gale-force winds wreaked havoc with the second day of the tournament, necessitating a Monday finish. The winds were a particular nuisance, prompting some speculation that the Old Course's greens were too fast to accommodate the continuation of play through the rough but non-threatening Scottish weather.
Recent architectural tweaks to the Old Course have also raised some eyebrows, including a new Championship tee at the infamous par-4 17th, the Road Hole, which actually sits outside the Old Course boundary. It remains to be seen whether any further alterations will happen in preparation for the 2021 event.
Adding to the significance of the event, by the time 2021 rolls around the Open Championship will serve as the fourth and final major championship of the year, as the PGA Championship will be moving its new May home on the calendar starting in 2019.
This year's Open Championship will return to Carnoustie Golf Links' Championship Course for the first time since Padraig Harrington's 2007 victory, followed by Royal Portrush Golf Club's Dunluce Course and Royal St. George's Golf Club in 2019 and 2020, respectively. The 2019 event at Royal Portrush will bring the Open Championship to Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951 and for just the second time in its history.