‘We can’t wait for 2026 Open’ say business leaders

More than 250,000 people attend Open Championship in Hoylake, generating an estimated £100m, and business leaders says they can’t wait for its return to Birkdale in 2026. Tony McDonough and Andrew Brown report

Brian Harman, Open, golf, Hoylake
Open Championship winner Brian Harman with the Claret Jug at Royal Liverpool. Picture by Richard Heathcote/R&A via Getty Images


Liverpool city region benefited to the tune of an estimated £100m during the 151st Open Championship at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake.

More than 250,000 people from across the globe defied the rain to flock to watch the world’s top golfers compete for the Claret Jug – the most prized trophy in the sport. And business leaders say they can’t wait for its return to Liverpool city region in 2026.

US player Brian Harman sealed a 13 under par victory, seeing off challenges from Rory McIlroy, John Rham and Merseyside’s own Tommy Fleetwood. Wirral player Matthew Jordan also won over the crowds with a strong performance.

In 2026 the Open Championship will return to Liverpool city region with Royal Birkdale, close to Southport, the venue this time. It last hosted the sport’s premier tournament in 2017 when US golfer Jordan Spieth lifted the Claret Jug.

City region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said on Sunday: “The eyes of the world on Liverpool city region (again). It’s been a record-breaking Open weekend. We can’t wait to welcome it back to Birkdale in 2026.

Business and political leaders in Southport are also looking forward to the tournament in three years’ time. It will take place from July 12 to 19, 2026 and will be the 154th Open Championship.

Hotels, guest houses, restaurants, shops, and other local businesses are already seeing the benefits, with bookings flooding in since the announcement was made earlier this month.

There is huge potential for Southport. The last time The Open (the 146th) was held at Royal Birkdale, in 2017, the R&A announced the attendance was a 235,000 crowd, which was then the third-highest figure of all time.

Only the Opens held at St Andrews in 2010 and 2015 had previously attracted a larger crowd, making that week in Southport a record attendance for the showpiece event at an English venue. Business owners in Southport are hoping for a similar boost in 2026.

Mikhail Hotel and Leisure Group owns several venues in the town including The Grand, the Bold Hotel, the Lord Street Hotel, the Lord Street Sports Bar, Punch Tarmey’s Irish themed bar and the Maverick’s Top Gun themed bar.

MHALG Chairman Andrew Mikhail said: “The Open Golf returning to Royal Birkdale is a massive opportunity for Southport. Hopefully it will be a big boost for many local businesses in a variety of different sectors.

“We are really looking forward to it. With places such as the Bold Hotel and the Lord Street Hotel we have some really top quality places for golfers and golf fans to stay, and that is what Southport does well.

“We need more top quality hotel accommodation in this town, especially for big events like The Open, and with the new Marine Lake Events Centre due to open soon.”

Guest houses and B&Bs in Southport are also looking forward to the tournament taking place.

Anthony and Larissa Duffey own the Sunnyside Guest House, on Bath Street in Southport town centre, which was recently recognised as the third best in the country at this year’s VisitEngland Awards.

Sunnyside won the Bronze Award in the 2023 B&B and Guest House of the Year category in June. Earlier this year they won the B&B and Guest House of the Year Awards in the 2023 Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards, which they also won in 2022.

The couple said: “This event promises a substantial boost to local businesses throughout The Open week.

“Moreover, the lasting legacy of hosting The Open extends to attracting international golf tourists who will flock to Southport in the years leading up to the championship and after witnessing the course on television.

“It also coincides with the year the new Conference and Events Centre opens so it looks like 2026 is going to be an exciting year for Southport.”

Royal Birkdale has previously hosted The Open on 10 occasions. Before Jordan Spiethin 2017 other winners included Peter Thomson, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller, Tom Watson, Ian Baker-Finch, Mark O’Meara and Padraig Harrington.


Open, golf, Hoylake
Crowds at the 2023 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool. Picture by Richard Heathcote/R&A via Getty Images
Matthew Jordan, Open, golf, Hoylake
Wirral golfer Matthew Jordan at the 2023 Open Championship. Picture by Charlie Crowhurst/R&A via Getty Images
Cains Brewery
Entrepreneur Andrew Mikhail is looking forward to the return of the Open


Andrew Maxwell, captain of Royal Birkdale and chairman of the Championship Committee, said:  We are thrilled and honoured to have been chosen as the host venue for The Open in 2026.

“Royal Birkdale Golf Club has a rich history with The Open having hosted it 10 times previously. We look forward to welcoming the world’s best golfers to our magnificent course and providing them with a true test of links golf. 

“The Club is already working hard to ensure that The Open in 2026 will be an unforgettable event for players, spectators and fans around the globe.”

Cllr Ian Maher, leader of Sefton Council, added: “Combining accommodation, food and drink, leisure facilities and transport links, millions of pounds will be spent in the local economy in the run-up to and during the Championship which is hugely wonderful news.

“The Open is very much a family event and we are expecting thousands of people of all ages to enjoy the Championship and all the excellent facilities Southport and Sefton have to offer.”

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