One of the world’s great sporting events will return to Kent in 2020 when The 149th Open is played at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich.

The Open will return to the historic Kent links for the 15th time. It was last played at Royal St. George’s in 2011 when Darren Clarke showed his mastery of links golf in challenging weather conditions to hold off Americans Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson to become Champion Golfer of the Year.

“It was an unbelievable feeling to lift the Claret Jug and know that my name was displayed on the trophy alongside so many of the greatest players ever to play the game,” said Clarke.

“The Open is what it is all about for me as a golfer and it is the championship I always dreamt of winning from when I first took up the game as a kid. I have so many wonderful memories from that week at Sandwich and I will be thrilled to go back there for The Open in three years’ time.”

Darren Clarke holding the Claret Jug

Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland holds the Claret Jug following his victory in The 140th Open at Royal St George’s in 2011. Credit: The R&A

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “We are very much looking forward to the return of The Open to Royal St. George’s in 2020. The Open is a true celebration of sport and the global spotlight will fall once again on Sandwich.

“Royal St. George’s has produced a series of outstanding Champion Golfers over the last 120 years and it is a thrilling prospect for golf fans to see the greatest players competing on one of the world’s finest links courses.”

James Furber, the Captain of Royal St. George’s, said, “We are delighted and honoured to be invited to host The Open in 2020. This is tremendous news for the Club and a wonderful commercial opportunity for Sandwich, Thanet and Kent.

“The Club is most grateful to all those in the local authorities and the local MPs who have worked so hard with us over the last few years to bring this about.  We look forward to working with The R&A and others over the next three years to deliver one of the world’s most prestigious championships in 2020.”

Paul Carter CBE, Leader of Kent County Council, said, “We are absolutely delighted that we have secured The Open in 2020 at Royal St George’s. In 2011 there were over 180,000 visitors to The Open, and an extra 37,000 passengers travelled on the special High Speed train service from London St Pancras.

“The benefits to the tourist economy was massive, amounting to over £64 million.  Significant transport improvements were needed to improve spectator flows in and out of Royal St. George’s and KCC has played a leading role in facilitating partnership funding with the Local Enterprise Partnership and District Councils Dover and Thanet.”

The 149th Open will be played from 12-19 July 2020.