At the recent Open Championship at Carnoustie, the R&A held its annual press conference on the Wednesday before the off. To nobody’s shock, the subject of when Turnberry might next host the Open came up, mostly to be neatly dodged by Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the Royal & Ancient.
Back in February, he had said this. “Turnberry is a fantastic golf course and will be a great venue when we get there.” You knew they’d be a but…”It would be very complex having an Open at Turnberry at the moment. You’ve got the ownership issue of the course and the staging there. But there are a number of other courses we haven’t been to for a few years, and we are looking forward to going back to all of them.” I’m not sure that he had Prestwick and Musselburgh in mind but then who knows?
Immediately ahead of the Open, Slumbers said: “We have criteria for which courses we want to go to, and part of that is macroeconomics. Clearly part of that macroeconomics is about politics. I’ve already said that in ’21 we’re going to be celebrating the 150th playing of the the Open at St Andrews. And in ’22, we will be going south of the border.” No mention of 2023, infinity or beyond. I think Turnberry’s owner 😡 will not be happy.
The likelihood is that the 2022 Open will go to Royal Lytham & St Annes. As I have written here previously, the 2023 Open should be nailed on for the west coast of Scotland. Royal Troon staged it in 2016. Turnberry hasn’t held it since 2009, so unless the R&A does something out of very left field, such as celebrating the recent renovation of The Machrie by taking the championship to the Isle of Islay, if Turnberry does not get the Open in five years time one can only think the reason for that decision is the identity of its owner.
The Donald was at Turnberry himself the weekend before the Open, in the immediate aftermath of causing mayhem all over Europe (sorry, that should read “of being involved in high-level political discussions in the UK and with fellow-NATO members”). He and Melania having met the Queen on the Friday of his visit (and let’s be fair, if only by association, our monarch has naming rights with all four English courses currently on the Open rota as well as with Troon in Scotland and Portrush in Ireland), he flew up to Scotland for a couple of rounds in Ayrshire.
We are indebted to the website Trump Golf Count for the information that the Saturday saw his 120th round of golf since he became president. It’s in part funny that he spends so much time playing the game when it is said that he hates being photographed playing golf because casual clothes make him look fat; in his book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, Michael Wolff observed that’s why in every other circumstance, Trump is always in a suit. From Turnberry, the president tweeted that he considers golf to be “my primary form of exercise” – this even though the only time he appears to leave his buggy is to hit a shot or, reputedly, to take an illegal drop.
“I have arrived in Scotland and will be at Trump Turnberry for two days of meetings, calls and hopefully some golf,” he announced on Twitter. He could not find time to mention NATO, Mrs May, her Majesty or thank anyone for their hospitality over the preceding days. I would bet he found time for a few mulligans, though.
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