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BBC to stop screening The Open a year early

Tournament organisers the R&A have announced that next year’s coverage of the Open Championship will be provided by Sky Sports after the BBC asked to be released from its contract a year early.

Sky Sports, which had already won the broadcast rights for the tournament from 2017, will begin their coverage a year earlier than planned. The BBC will show prime-time highlights of the event, but some leading figures in the game are concerned that losing top class golf on free to air TV will harm participation levels.

“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,” said Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the R&A.

“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. 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.”