I SAW THIS OVER at BBC Sport. No headline sponsor, no English Open, which was set to be played in August at St. Mellion, where no less than £20m has been poured into the facilities.
Goodness gracious. I know the economy still has a foul odor, but we’re talking about the home of John Henry Taylor, Horace Rawlins, Jim Barnes, Bernard Darwin, Abe Mitchell, Cyril Walker, Samuel Ryder, Archie Compston, Sir Henry Cotton, Peter Alliss, Tony Jacklin, Peter Oosterhuis, Sir Nick Faldo, Mark James, Laura Davies, Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Paul Casey and Justin Rose.
The small dimpled ball is an important part of English heritage. Am I right? Who’s with me?
Alas, sponsors are not cueing up.
The English Open has not been on the European Tour schedule since 2002 when Darren Clarke won at Forest of Arden. It was supposed to return in 2009 at St. Mellion but was delayed because of the financial difficulties of developers. Now that the facility is up to snuff, sponsors are scarcer than a Yankee near the top of the world rankings.
Stephen Towers, St. Mellion’s resort director, told BBC Radio that many blue-chip companies are pursuing Olympic sponsorships or simply cutting back on spending.
“It’s a reflection of the trend that we’re seeing in European golf at the moment,” said golf correspondent Iain Carter at BBC Sport, “in that the sponsors are to be found on the other side of the world, not in Europe, not in Great Britain and certainly not in England.”
Last year’s Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor raked in £84.5m for Wales. I know. The English Open is not the Ryder Cup. Still, I ask, how can England not stage an Open?
This is not jolly good.
−The Armchair Golfer