R&A Insists They Knew Exactly What They Were Doing...

Though as Mike Aitken's piece suggests, it's not clear why they are playing the Open in England two straight years other than they were anxious to not stay away from Lytham for too long.

Not just a question of serendipity, David Hill, the R&A's director of championships, explained how the impact of the London Olympics in 2012 had forced a break with tradition. "It wasn't just coincidence that the Open will be in England two years running," he acknowledged. "We didn't want to hold the championship at Royal St George's in 2012, the year of the Olympics in London, and didn't think going there the year after was a particularly good idea either."

One of the most popular venues on the rota - 183,000 spectators came through the gates when Ben Curtis thwarted Thomas Bjorn in 2003 - Sandwich is the only links in the south east of England which stages golf's most venerable event. Drawing spectators from London as well as Kent and the surrounding area, St George's was a hugely successful Open four years ago and the R&A didn't want to cloak it's appeal in the shadow of the Olympics.

Bearing in mind that Lytham last held the Open in 2001 when David Duval was in his pomp, the Lancashire venue will have had to wait 11 years for the championship to return by the time the event goes back to St Anne's in 2012.