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Royal Troon to host 2004 Open

Royal Troon, on the Ayrshire coast, has been awarded the 133rd Open Championship in 2004. The last of Troon's seven Opens was in 1997 when Justin Leonard, the fifth American champion at the venue, beat Darren Clarke and Jesper Parnevik by three strokes.

The announcement by the Royal and Ancient means the other great Ayrshire links, Turnberry, one of the front-runners to host the 2009 Ryder Cup should Scotland win the bid to host the match, will almost certainly have to wait until 2007 for its next Open, 13 years after its last.

With the 2005 Open already pencilled in for a return to St Andrews, the championship will move south of the border the following year when Hoylake, newly restored to the rota, will probably stage its first Open for almost 40 years. Muirfield, near Edinburgh, and Royal St George's, at Sandwich in Kent, follow this year's Open hosts, Royal Lytham.

Arthur Havers, then the professional at Coombe Hill, won the first Open at Troon in 1923 and remains the only European winner at the venue, but it was Arnold Palmer's second successive win in the Open at Troon in 1962 that helped to restore interest in the Championship amongst American professionals.

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