Treacherous Carnoustie to host the 2007 Open

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The Independent Online

Carnoustie, scene of one of the most controversial Open's of recent times, will again host the game's oldest championship in 2007. Five years ago Paul Lawrie eventually became the first Scot to win on home soil for 68 years, but only amid the moaning of the world's leading players and after the extraordinary escapades of Jean Van de Velde.

Improvements to infrastructure, access and accommodation had earned Carnoustie a first Open for 24 years. Always regarded as one of the toughest links in the world, where the weather is rarely benign, the fairways were narrowed and the rough allowed to grow to such an extent that some the best players felt the course was unfair.

But Van de Velde seemed to be coping until he reached the 72nd hole, which turned into a French farce. His second shot took a freak bounce off a grandstand railing and into deep rough. He would visit the Barry Burn before finishing with a six and prompting a three-way play-off in which he and Justin Leonard lost out to Lawrie, who triumphed having played his way through final qualifying the previous weekend.

This announcement means that Turnberry, which has not hosted the Open since 1994 but has been off the rota due to a lack of adequate road access, will not return until at least 2009. Royal Birkdale is likely to stage the Open in 2008, following Royal Troon this year, St Andrews in 2005 and Hoylake, after a break of 39 years, in 2006.

Peter Dawson, secretary of the Royal and Ancient, said: "Carnoustie is an outstanding test of links golf with one of the most exacting finishes of any Championship course."

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