The Open 2018: Carnoustie 'not built' for Championship's 'corporate machine'

Carnoustie Golf Club
Carnoustie Golf Club is preparing to host The Open for an eighth time this week, and first since 2007
The 147th Open Championship
Venue: Carnoustie, Scotland Dates: 19-22 July
Coverage: Live across BBC Radio, highlights on BBC TV and online, live text commentaries on BBC website.

The captain of Carnoustie Golf Club believes the town on Scotland's Angus coast may be too small to host the Open Championship's "corporate machine".

Changes to ticket policies and a tightening of security around parking and road closures means local residents and visitors face more restrictions.

Bill Thompson believes the R&A, which organises the Open, may need to review how traditional venues stage the event.

"We have 14,000 residents - we're not built for 45-50,000 people," he said.

"It is changing the balance. The balance was that you would always put up with an element of disruption, and a number of weeks with not playing the course, and a number of weeks with less play.

"But for the first time we have actually seen pieces of the golf course torn up for corporate hospitality tents.

"We have already lost several weeks of play and we will lose more before they come back into play."

Carnoustie is one of 10 courses on the Open roster, half of which are in Scotland.

Next year's Championship will be staged at Royal Portrush Golf Course in Northern Ireland and moves to Royal St George's in Sandwich, Kent, in 2020, before returning to St Andrews in 2021.

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Open 2018: What makes Carnoustie so tough?

"It is difficult because the venues all want to have the Open because it is a badge that brings business," Thompson explained.

"It allows them to set green fees to a certain level and the income to allow them to pay for the many, many green-keepers and the great courses we get to play on all year round.

"But at the end of the day, this is a machine, a corporate machine which is run very professionally. But as a machine, there is very little input, very little communication.

"We are absolutely on the periphery of this tournament, and when it goes away next week, we will be hoping to try to re-baseline our business back to what we do, which is look after our members and welcome visitors."

The R&A's chief executive, Martin Slumbers, does not agree that the Open has become too big for Carnoustie, maintaining there is "plenty of space" for the Championship to be located there.

"Everyone has a point but I'm not sure I agree with him," Slumbers said. "The Open has grown as we have sought to ensure the Open is one of the world's greatest sporting events.

"We feel very strongly that this is a great links course and, actually, once you get here there is plenty of space."

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