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21 July 2017

The Open 2017: Where is Royal Birkdale, and has it hosted a major golf tournament before?

THE golfing world has descended on Merseyside as The Open Championship bandwagon rolls into Royal Birkdale once again.

Current champion, Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, will be hoping to repeat his thrilling win last year when he held off the challenge of American Phil Mickelson.

Henrik Stenson won the Open at Troon last year
Henrik Stenson won the Open at Troon last year
Getty Images

Where is Royal Birkdale?

Royal Birkdale is a links-style golf course close to Southport in Merseyside, which sits on a stretch of linksland that runs for almost 20 miles north of Liverpool.

The Open heads to Royal Birkdale this year
The Open heads to Royal Birkdale this year
Times Newspapers Ltd

Has it hosted a major golf tournament before?

The famous course, which dates back to 1889, first held The Open in 1954 when legendary Australian golfer Peter Thompson won the first of his five Open titles.

The venue has hosted the tournament nine times, along with by Royal Lytham, more than any other course apart from St Andrews in Scotland.

The most recent being in 2008 when Ireland’s Padraig Harrington successfully defended his title, becoming the first European to do so since James Braid in 1906.

England’s Tommy Fleetwood grew up in Southport near Royal Birkdale
EPA

What is the weather looking like?

Wind and rain on the exposed coastal links of Royal Birkdale can play havoc with a player’s scorecard. The fans too will be hoping for dry and sunny conditions.

The last time the Open was played at Birkdale in 2008, the weather was so bad only three players broke par.

Overcast conditions are expected during this year’s Open. Spells of rain and sun with temperatures hovering around 17C (63F) and wind speeds between 12-20mph.


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