The host courses for the Open Golf Championship are on a rotation but there is one element which ties them all together.
In 2020 the competition will be played in Royal St. George’s
The tournament is mostly played in Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland. The common factor in these venues is links courses.
A links style golf course is the oldest type of course in existence. It features undulating fairways and greens, with sand dunes located on the coast. The host of the 2018 Open, Carnoustie Golf Links, matches this description and has proved a very difficult venue for players over the years.
Four of the previous seven winners of the Open at Carnoustie carded winning scores which were over par. Many players have failed to tame the course and the conditions.
In 1999, Paul Lawrie won the event with a score of 6 over par and this will be the second time the Open will be played at Carnoustie since then. The course is the longest on the current Open rota, playing to 7,421 yards and featuring 110 bunkers.
Tough for Defending Champions
The defending Open champion is Jordan Spieth. The American will be hoping he can become the first man since Padraig Harrington in 2008, to win the Open back-to-back. Interestingly, one of Harrington’s wins came at Carnoustie.
So, there is a little bit of history for Spieth but there will be one man in the field who has already completed that feat. He has three Open Championships to his name and that man is Tiger Woods.
There is no doubt Woods is targeting a major win this season. The local golf fans will be keen to see one of the greatest players in the history of the sport back to his best. The crowd will also be cheering for Rory McIlroy, another player who has come back well from injury this season.
Many of the top names in world golf, including Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Justin Rose look fit and hungry.
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The Home Favourite
However, McIlroy has an excellent recent record at the Open, finishing first, T5 and T4 in his last three appearances. His performance at the Masters shows he has a major in him this season. If you fancy having a little bet on the Open this year, you could do a lot worse than back the Northern Irishman, who will have the crowd behind him.
By Bill Funke
So Why The Open Golf Championship 2019?
The Open has produced some of the most memorable moments in the history of golf. What drama awaits in the 2019 Open Championship?
The 2018 Open Championship will be played at Carnoustie Golf Links, which is in Angus, Scotland. On the east coast of Scotland, Carnoustie is no stranger to the Open Championship and this will be the eighth time it has hosted the major golf event.
For those who have an interest in the history of golf, records show golf was played at Carnoustie back in 1560. The course first played host to the Open Championship in 1931, with Edinburgh’s Tommy Armour coming away with the victory. The transformation of the venue for the 2018 Open Championship will be something special. Sustainable and locally sourced food stalls, the Open shop, grandstands, spectator village, big screens and the golf zone combine to create a special occasion.
Away from the golf course, this region of Scotland offers some fantastic things to do and Glamis Castle is a must visit attraction. Once the home of the of the Earls of Strathmore, the castle has a 600-year history and splendid gardens to explore. They are also stage special events, including film screenings and simulated game shooting.
Parks to Visit
You also have a choice of two fabulous Scottish country parks to enjoy. Both Monikie Country Park and Crombie Country Park are close by and feature a loch, reservoirs and woodland walks. For those wanting more golf heritage, Carnoustie is 45 minutes away from St Andrews, the home golf and coupled with the town, is a great day trip.
Fan of Beaches?
Don’t forget to include a visit to the beach when watching the 2018 Open. Broughty Ferry Beach is well maintained throughout the year and there are lovely views of Tayport, Tayport Estuary and the North Sea. There are also many cafes and gift shops to enjoy along the edge of the beach.
Where to Stay?
Carnoustie has a wide range of accommodation options, ranging from hotels to apartments and glamping to farm stays.
The 19th Hole
The 19th Hole provides luxury accommodation suitable for individuals, couples and groups. The hotel is 0.5 miles from the golf course and the rooms are spacious, with a television, rain shower, bathrobes and slippers. A cooked traditional Scottish breakfast is available each morning and there are live bands in the evening.
The R and R Boutique and Breakfast
Finally, and for a real taste of Scotland, why not book a stay at R and R Boutique and Breakfast? This splendid farm house accommodation enjoys a rural setting, boasting views of the Angus countryside and the sea. There is a choice of boutique rooms and a glamping pod. The superb features include a cedar-wood barrel sauna, Hot-Tub, luxury bathroom and extensive gardens.
What to Eat?
The 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links will offer a wide range of locally sourced food and drink for visitors to enjoy. The GreenLinks programme is designed to implement sustainable policies. These focus on ethically produced food and drink from local suppliers and that’s great news for spectators.
During Play Snacks
There will be many outlets situated around the golf course offering cooked food. Choices include fish and chips, burgers, chicken, sandwiches and vegetarian options. These are great for during play but what about before and after the golf?
Looking for an Extra Bite?
If you are staying at one of the accommodation options highlighted above, you will have a great breakfast before you leave. Yet, if you would like to eat out, there are two choices in Carnoustie and they are Two Sisters Café and Franco’s. Coffee, tea, toast and omelettes are available at both and are a good way to start the day.
What About Supper?
In the evening, the Aboukir Restaurant is an excellent choice. Located in Carnoustie High Street, the menu includes delicious cuts of beef, a range of starters and main courses. Aboukir Steak Pie, fresh mussels and poached salmon are recommended. The Aboukir Cheese Board is a great option for after your main meal.
If You’re Really a Foodie
If you fancy something a little different, why not try the Thai Kitchen on Queen Street? The restaurant is cosy, with attentive staff and has a wide choice of Thai dishes. Choose from king prawns, spring rolls and fried rice and book a table early to avoid disappointment, especially during Open week.
How to Get There?
For those coming to watch the 2018 Open Golf Championship from outside of Scotland, you must fly into Edinburgh or Glasgow airport. Both have excellent links around the world, with many European and North American cities flying direct, plus China, Qatar and Israel.
From each airport, the easiest route to Carnoustie Golf Links is by train and both lead to Dundee and then on to Carnoustie. The journey takes roughly 120 minutes and you can access the train using the tram link at Edinburgh airport. From Glasgow, you can use McGill’s 757 bus service to Paisley Gilmour Street station in Glasgow.
Trains to Carnoustie from Edinburgh city centre start at Haymarket Station. They arrive at Carnoustie Station, via Dundee or Arbroath.
If you plan to drive to the 2018 Open Championship, you must head for the A92, Aberdeen to Dundee road. Coming from the south, take the M90 (Edinburgh) or the A9 (Glasgow) and follow the signs for Dundee. Continue on the A90 Kingsway before taking the A972 Kingsway East and following the signs for A92 Carnoustie/Arbroath. Continue east and follow the signs for public parking.
For those driving from the north, follow the A9 to Perth and take the A90 Kingsway as above.
Buses will be available, taking spectators to the golf course during the tournament. Information regarding this will be posted on the official Open website prior to the event.
You will struggle to find a sporting tournament around the world with a longer recorded history than the Open Championship. The event has been contested for over 150 years but the first Open Championship saw just eight competitors play at Prestwick. The players competed over three rounds of the 12-hole links and Willie Park defeated Old Tom Morris by two shots. The prize that day was a Challenge Belt made from Moroccan leather and £25.
A year later, it was announced the tournament would be open to players from around the globe. Since then, the world’s top golfers have competed to hear the famous words ‘The champion golfer of the year is….’.
The greatest names in the world of golf have been crowned the ‘champion golfer of the year’. Three of the best are Seve Ballesteros, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson. They lifted the Champion Golf Trophy, better known as the Claret Jug, a total of 11 times between them. However, the first name to be engraved on the trophy was Tom Morris Junior as the 1872 winner.
Watson won his first Open at Carnoustie Golf Links in 1975. In doing so, he recorded the lowest score of any champion golfer on this course. The American registered 9 under par but still required a playoff to win the tournament. Interestingly, each of the last three Open Championships played at Carnoustie Golf Links have gone to a playoff. Who can forget the drama of the playoff in 1999?
Paul Lawrie was 10 stokes down going into the final round but completed the biggest comeback in major championship history. He forced a playoff against Jean van de Velde and Justin Leonard. As great as Lawrie’s comeback was to win the tournament in a playoff, the lasting image was of van de Velde. Seeing van de Velde taking off his shoes and socks before going shin deep in water as he contemplated hitting his ball out the Barry Burn is a sight no one can forget.