Birkdale To Stage 2026 Open As Muirfield Misses Out

The Open will return to the North West in 2026 when Royal Birkdale will play host for the 11th time.

The iconic course, which sits alongside Hillside and Southport & Ainsdale, last held The Open in 2017 when Jordan Spieth produced that remarkable run over the closing five holes to edge out Matt Kuchar. Previous champions there also include Peter Thomson, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller, Tom Watson, Ian Baker-Finch, Mark O'Meara and Padraig Harrington.

The news means that we'll be at Royal Troon next year, then Royal Portrush in 2025 before heading to Birkdale so there won't be an Open at Muirfield or Lytham in the foreseeable future.

Muirfield only voted to admit women as members for the first time in its history in 2017 but did stage last year's Women's Open which signalled some sign of progress from the R&A. Royal Lytham & St Annes hasn't hosted The Open since 2012, when Ernie Els won, and it was hoped that they might get the nod to mark the centenary of Bobby Jones' first Open victory.


And we have to go back to 2009 for when Turnberry, which has undergone significant changes since last staging things back in 2009, held the game's oldest Major. The crowds on this west coast of Scotland venue are generally low as well as having a particularly notable and divisive owner.

Martin Slumbers, CEO of The R&A, said: "Royal Birkdale is a world-class championship venue and its outstanding links will once again provide the world's best men's professional golfers with a tough but fair test of their talents and capabilities as they compete for the Claret Jug.


"It has produced many memorable moments that are woven into the story of this historic Championship, including a dramatic final round in 2017 when Spieth won for the first time."

The winner of this year's Open will receive a whopping £2.3m which represents the championship's largest ever prize fund. The champion's share has risen by more than £300,000 compared to the £2m won by Cameron Smith last year while the overall purse has risen to £12.7m, a rise of £1.5m.