Wirral's hosting of The Open Championship at The Royal Liverpool Golf Club has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The major golf tournament’s governing body the Royal and Ancient (R&A) cancelled this year’s event – due to be held at Royal St George’s – yesterday, and have confirmed that the Kent course will host the competition in 2021.
After that St Andrews will host the tournament in 2022 – the year The Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, was due to stage the sport's most prestigious event.
Staff at the club are talking to the R&A with a view to hosting the event a year later in 2023 – something which would ensure Wirral did not miss out on a fantastic occasion for the borough.
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said in a statement on The Open’s website: “Our absolute priority is to protect the health and safety of the fans, players, officials, volunteers and staff involved in The Open.
“We care deeply about this historic Championship and have made this decision [to cancel this year’s event] with a heavy heart.
“We appreciate that this will be disappointing for a great many people around the world but we have to act responsibly during this pandemic and it is the right thing to do.”
He emphasised that sport could not be the main priority at this time of great need.
Mr Slumbers added: “Most of all I would like to thank our fans around the world and all of our partners for their support and understanding.
“At a difficult time like this we have to recognise that sport must stand aside to let people focus on keeping themselves and their families healthy and safe.
“We are committed to supporting our community in the weeks and months ahead and will do everything in our power to help golf come through this crisis.”
Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of R&A at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake in 2014
The Royal Liverpool Golf Club has played host to some classic Open Championships in recent years.
In 2014, Rory McIlroy won his sole Open title, defeating a strong chasing pack including Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler in a tense finish.
In 2006, Tiger Woods defended his Open title from the previous year to win his third Open Championship overall and his first major after the loss of his father Earl Woods.
The Royal Liverpool Golf Club has been undergoing major improvements to ensure it remains a fit venue for The Open Championship.
A number of alterations are being made to the course, including to the last hole which will see it stretch to more than 600 yards.