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Trump Turnberry has issued a public plea to the R&A to restore it to the Open rota.

Four times a host of golf’s oldest major, the Ayrshire resort was struck from the R&A’s list of championship venues in 2021 following the US Capitol riots in January 2021, in which former US president Donald Trump – the resort’s owner since 2014 – was widely implicated.

Ahead of last year’s Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, the R&A’s outgoing chief executive Martin Slumbers reiterated the governing body’s position on taking the event back there, saying: “Until we’re confident that any coverage at Turnberry would be about golf, about the golf course and about the championship, we will not return any of our championships there.”

However, on the 47th anniversary of the epic ‘Duel in the Sun’ clash waged there by Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, general manager Nic Oldham has urged the organisation to invite Turnberry and its acclaimed Ailsa Course back into the fold.

“There is no doubt the Ailsa remains one of the world’s most iconic layouts,” said Oldham. “It remains a rite of passage for many golfers who want to tread in the footsteps of those who have graced our four Open Championships, which have been some of the most thrilling in the tournament’s history.

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“We continue to invest in the course and Martin Ebert’s redesign raised the bar even higher. There has never been a better time to play the Ailsa and it would be great if the R&A would consider returning the Open to Turnberry, perhaps to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the famous ‘Duel in the Sun’ in 2027.

Oldham added: “While we always want to look to the future, celebrating our history and heritage remains so important to our way of life at Turnberry.

“Being the stage of perhaps golf’s most enduring contest between two of the sport’s finest players has been a great source of pride for the resort, and to this day the Duel in the Sun serves as a reminder of the quality, class and sportsmanship that we value across the business.”

Earlier this year, the resort lodged a planning application to redesign parts of the Ailsa Course in a bid to strengthen its case for returning to the Open rota.

Plans for significant changes to the seventh and eighth holes of the property were submitted to South Ayrshire Council on November 30 and approved in March.

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They will see the existing seventh hole moved to the west of its current position, shifting it immediately adjacent to the coastline, with the tees for the eighth moved to the right of the proposed new seventh hole.

A supporting statement on the application stated that the proposed alterations are intended to “enhance the overall golfing experience for all members and visitors and to facilitate the return of the Open Championship to Turnberry and South Ayrshire”.

Speaking to bunkered in August last year, Eric Trump, the executive vice president of the Trump Organisation, articulated his belief that the R&A’s position will change eventually.

“Turnberry is considered to be, by far, the best course on the rota,” said the 39-year-old. “It just is. Everybody will tell you that.

“If the decision is political, which it appears it is, there’s not a damn thing in the world I can do about it. What I can do is have the greatest golf course on Earth. It’s always rated top-5 anywhere in the world. It’s been rated No.1 many times. That’s what I can control.

“When the tournament comes around and they want to do it, fantastic. We’ll be there with open arms. We’d love to do it.”


author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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