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Sky's Open deal starting year early

By Phil Casey

Published 01/10/2015

Shane Lowry
Shane Lowry

The 2016 Open Championship at Royal Troon will be televised by Sky Sports after the BBC ended its deal a year early, the R&A has announced.

It was confirmed by the R&A in February that Sky Sports had been awarded exclusive rights to live television coverage in a five-year deal from 2017, with the BBC offering two-hour daily highlights and live coverage on radio and online.

And Sky have now stepped in to cover next year's Open as well after the BBC asked the R&A to be released from its contract.

New R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said: "We are looking forward to world-class coverage of The Open from our partners at Sky Sports and are grateful that they have stepped in a year early.

"It is sad to see the BBC's live coverage of The Open end and I know some fans will be disappointed. The relationship between The R&A and the BBC spans more than 60 years and we understand the challenging circumstances that the BBC is currently presented with. I know the BBC will produce compelling highlights, which will be enjoyed by a large prime-time audience.

"We are committed to delivering a spectacular edition of The Open next year at Royal Troon and working with both Sky Sports and the BBC we will ensure compelling coverage for millions of fans throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland."

Meanwhile, Ulster trio Graeme McDowell, Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke and Michael Hoey are all in action when the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship gets under way today.

The pro-am event is staged on the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns.

Shane Lowry, who is also in action, said: "I felt like the last Ryder Cup probably came a year too early for me. I feel like a year later I can make the next team and that's probably my main goal for the next five months."

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