Royal Birkdale named
venue for the 2008
The Open has been to Birkdale on eight previous occasions and it was in 1954, the first, that Peter Thomson won the first of his five Open Championship titles. Eleven years later, in 1965 at Birkdale, he rounded off his collection of Open wins with a further triumph that he described as 'my greatest win'.
Then, Thomson finally broke the final round log-jam of 13 players, all of whom had a chance to win, with his second shot to the 510-yard 17th which hit the flag when he was just one shot clear of the field. Birkdale was a great favourite of Thomson's and he lovingly described it as 'man-sized but not a monster'.
"Royal Birkdale has endeared itself to all of the world's top golfers," said Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A. "And we must remember that with his win there in 1961, Arnold Palmer is rightly credited with starting the renaissance of The Open. We are delighted to be returning in 2008."
In giving details of the 2008 Open, David Hill, Director of Championships of The R&A said: "Royal Birkdale is a venue which in addition to setting a rigorous examination of the abilities of all golfers, also has a first-class infrastructure which is capable of coping with large numbers of spectators."
"Almost 200,000 people watched Mark O'Meara winning in 1998 and we are delighted that the golfing public in Lancashire and the surrounding areas will again be given the opportunity of viewing 156 of the world's leading players in 2008."
Graham Haywood, Chief Executive of Sefton Council said: "I am delighted that The Open Championship will be returning to Royal Birkdale, Southport in 2008. The event is very special and of enormous benefit to the area, particularly our marketing of the area as England's Golf Coast. It was a tremendous success in 1998 when it was last at Royal Birkdale and I am sure 2008 will be even better".
Other players to have won at Birkdale are Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller, Tom Watson, Ian Baker-Finch and most recently, in 1998, Mark O'Meara who defeated Brian Watts of the United States in a four-hole play-off.
Royal Birkdale was founded in 1889 and eight years later, in 1897 moved to its present home at 'Birkdale Hills'. Much of the present layout was modelled on a design by Hawtree & J H Taylor Ltd in the 1920s' and to complement the course which threads its way through mighty sand dunes, the present-day clubhouse was constructed in 1935 on elevated ground behind the 18th green.
Previous Winners at Royal Birkdale
1954 -- Peter Thomson 72, 71, 69, 71, 283
1961 -- Arnold Palmer 70, 73, 69, 72, 284
1965 -- Peter Thomson 74, 68, 72, 71, 285
1971 -- Lee Trevino 69, 70, 69, 70, 278
1976 -- Johnny Miller 72, 68, 73, 66, 279
1983 -- Tom Watson 67, 68, 70, 70, 275
1991 -- Ian Baker-Finch 71, 71, 64, 66, 272
1998 -- Mark O'Meara 72, 68, 72, 68, 280
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.