Trump Turnberry issues Open host plea

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 9, 2024 12:13

Trump Turnberry has issued a desire to return as a host venue for the Open Championship, and says it would be fitting if it was the location for the 2027 championship.

The venue has hosted the Open Championship four times, the last in 2009, but The R&A stated in January 2021 that it “will not return until we are convinced that the focus will be on the championship, the players and the course”; a reference to President Trump, whose sons run the company that owns the venue.

Nic Oldham, general manager at Trump Turnberry, said: “There is no doubt the Ailsa remains one of the world’s most iconic layouts, and it remains a rite of passage for many golfers who want to tread in the footsteps of those who have graced our four Open Championships – which have been some of the most thrilling in the tournament’s history.

“We continue to invest in the course and Martin Ebert’s redesign raised the bar even higher. There has never been a better time to play the Ailsa and it would be great if The R&A would consider returning the Open to Turnberry, perhaps to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the famous ‘Duel in the Sun’ in 2027.

“While we always want to look to the future, celebrating our history and heritage remains so important to our way of life at Turnberry.

“Being the stage of perhaps golf’s most enduring contest between two of the sport’s finest players has been a great source of pride for the resort, and to this day the Duel in the Sun serves as a reminder of the quality, class and sportsmanship that we value across the business.”

On July 9, 1977, after 36 holes on the Ailsa course, two iconic golfers were neck-and-neck in a tie for second place: Americans Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus, both ever-present in discussions about the sport’s all-time greats.

Paired together, the American duo each carded five-under-par rounds to take a share of the lead, three strokes clear of their nearest competitor, Ben Crenshaw. What followed was one of the most famous rounds in golfing history; both players showed their class on a balmy day in west Scotland to leave the rest of the field behind.

With victory at stake on the 18th fairway, Watson produced a jaw-dropping seven iron from 178 yards – where a plaque stands to this day to commemorate the moment – to within two feet of the hole. Though Nicklaus made birdie by holing a gutsy long putt, Watson held his nerve and made the birdie he needed to seal a one-shot win and lift the Claret Jug.

The 1977 classic was the first of four Open Championships at Trump Turnberry, with further victories coming from Greg Norman in 1986, Nick Price in 1994 and Stewart Cink in 2009. Turnberry’s rich golfing history is honoured by the ‘Duel in the Sun’ restaurant in the venue’s clubhouse, which overlooks the Ailsa’s finishing hole.

In 2016, renowned architect Martin Ebert completed an extensive redesign of the Ailsa. In the shadow of the iconic Turnberry Lighthouse, the Ailsa is a classic links test with stunning views out to sea and its namesake, the ancient and now uninhabited island that is the Ailsa Craig which sits nine miles off Scotland’s west coast on the Firth of Clyde.

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 9, 2024 12:13
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  1. World Golf Competition July 15, 18:13

    One of our favourite all-time courses. Plus the level of customer support and service is par-excellence.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Steph W July 15, 11:18

    It’s a great course

    Reply to this comment
  3. Albatross July 12, 11:50

    Is this Trump dictating to the R&A?
    I didn’t think so!

    Reply to this comment
  4. Caddie July 11, 12:11

    The name TRUMP will always and ever be associated with Cheating, lying, and Deceit. When Jack Nicholas endorsed Donald Trump, he destroyed his legacy. The R&A & The PGA should get a soul and call TRUMP and his family out for being CHEATS

    Reply to this comment
  5. Cyborg July 11, 10:10

    Never again in my opinion. Was there in March and they insisted the course was playable and open when all the greens were under water. Just a ££ generating operation. Stay well away

    Reply to this comment
    • Palo de golf July 11, 11:24

      Fortunately there are plenty of Open courses which have no association with Trump. The R&A have got it right and nothing has changed.

      Reply to this comment
  6. Dove July 10, 10:42

    While I couldn’t agree more that the Ailsa Course, politics aside, deserves to be back on the rota sooner rather than later and even though 2027 would be the 20th anniversary of the famous ‘Duel in the Sun’ between Tom Watson & Jack Nicklaus at The Open – My vote for the 2027 site is St Andrews and The Old Course as it will be the Centenary of Bobby Jones’ historic win there. Ailsa, especially with the improvements by Mackenzie & Ebert Ltd., gets my vote (just edging out Royal County Down Golf Club) as the finest layout in GB & I and a worthy rota venue for The Open Championship – and July 2028 would be a wonderful homecoming. See you on the links!!!

    Reply to this comment
  7. CS July 10, 01:20

    Well said Nic, the return of the Open is long overdue and 2027 would be a fitting tribute to celebrate one of the most remarkable Opens in living memory the Duel in the Sun.

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