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Royal Birkdale and Carnoustie to host British Open in 2017 and 2018

<p>The Royal and Ancient Golf Club announced Tuesday that Royal Birkdale will host The British Open in 2017 and Carnoustie will host the championship in 2018.</p>

St. Andrews, Scotland (SportsNetwork.com) - The Royal and Ancient Golf Club announced Tuesday that Royal Birkdale will host The British Open in 2017 and Carnoustie will host the championship in 2018.

Royal Birkdale will host the championship for the 10th time, while Carnoustie will see it's eighth British Open.

"I am delighted to see the Open returning to two great venues in Royal Birkdale and Carnoustie," said 5-time British Open winner Tom Watson. "I know both courses are held in high regard by the players and I certainly consider them to be wonderful tests of golf."

Watson joined the announcement as the R&A also said that Watson will receive a special exemption to appear at the 2015 British Open at St. Andrews, which will be the 40th anniversary of his first appearance at the championship. It will be his 37th appearance overall.

Watson's five titles at the British Open ties James Braid, JH Taylor and Peter Thomson, and trails only Harry Vardon's six as the most all time.

"I am very proud and honored to be given this opportunity to play once again in St. Andrews next year," Watson said, "It is a special place for everyone in golf and I am very much looking forward to playing there again in front of the wonderful Scottish galleries."

The British Open was last played at Royal Birkdale in 2008, where Padraig Harrington won by four shots over Ian Poulter. The other players to win the British Open at Royal Birkdale are Mark O'Meara (1998), Ian Baker-Finch (1991), Peter Thomson (1954 and 1965), Arnold Palmer (1961), Lee Trevino (1971) and Johnny Miller (1976).

Harrington also won the Open the last time Carnoustie hosted the championship in 2007, when he defeated Sergio Garcia in a playoff. Other winners of the championship at Carnoustie are Paul Lawrie (1999), Ben Hogan (1953), Tommy Armour (1931), Henry Cotton (1937) and Gary Player (1968).

The British Open will be played at Royal Birkdale from July 20-23, 2017 and at Carnoustie from July 19-22, 2018.

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