Turnberry to be sold

Turnberry in Scotland, the venue for next year’s Open Championship, is being bought for £55m by the Dubai-based Leisurecorp.

The company, which in November announced plans to host the richest tournament in golf at the end of next season, have signed a letter of intent with current owners Starwood Hotels and Resorts and the deal is expected to be completed by October 31.

Turnberry first hosted The Open in 1977, the famous “Duel in the Sun” in which Tom Watson beat Jack Nicklaus by a stroke after the pair had separated themselves from the rest of the field.

Greg Norman won his first major there in 1986, firing a major record-equalling 63 en route, and Nick Price became champion in 1994 after an eagle putt on the 17th helped him overtake Jesper Parnevik, who stood on the final tee three ahead.

A full re-development of the hotel overlooking the two courses is planned and it was also announced today that Colin Montgomerie’s contract supporting an academy at the venue is being extended for a further three years.

Leisurecorp have become a major player for the European Tour, with the Order of Merit next year being re-named “The Race to Dubai” and an international Tour headquarters being established in the United Arab Emirates.

The Dubai World Championship will become the climax to next season’s schedule, with a total prize fund of around £5m.

In addition there is a bonus pool of the same amount, from which the Tour’s number one will earn roughly £1m down to the player in 15th spot collecting £125,000.

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