President Donald Trump faces a long wait before his Turnberry golf course hosts the Open.
The Ayrshire course, which last organized the championship in 2009, has been overlooked for the 2023 tournament to be hosted by Royal Troon, just seven years after its last participation.
And it seems unlikely that Turnberry will return to the Open Rota in the foreseeable future, despite £ 200 million in improvements since the President bought the complex in 2014.
The governing body of R&A wants a bigger crowd at the championship and the remote setting of Turnberry means it attracts the smallest audience of all the Open sites.
“Large-scale crowds are necessary for large-scale sports,” R&A managing director Martin Slumbers told BBC Sport. “We are working to increase the number of spectators arriving.”
Troon, where Henrik Stenson won an exciting duel with Phil Mickelson in 2016, was selected to organize the 2023 event to mark the 100th anniversary of the Open which is being played there for the first time.
But the place also offers closer proximity to Glasgow and a road network that allows larger crowds to attend. Over 170,000 people witnessed Stenson’s triumph four years ago.
“We spend as much time talking about infrastructure to attract crowds to the tournament as we do on the golf course. This balance has changed a lot in the last five years.
“You know, you can have a great golf course, but if you can’t attract the crowds and the media and sponsors, it doesn’t work for the way we see the championship today,” added Slumbers.
“This is the main problem for Turnberry trying to sort through the infrastructure. We are working with the government and the tourist board to see what can be done, but it is a long-term point.
“You arrive at the Turnberry golf course and it is beautiful.”
The problem is getting there. The main A77 road leading to the station is single carriageway and obstructs the traffic plans needed to bring large numbers of spectators to the event.
In 2009, the last time he was played on Turnberry, Tom Watson almost became the oldest winner at the age of 59. The crowd for the week was estimated at 130,000.
Attendance of all July tickets at Royal St George’s in Sandwich, Kent is expected to be over 200,000.
“It should be the Edinburgh Open”
Muirfield, who changed his membership policy to include women before he could go back, was also overlooked for the 2023 championship.
Like Turnberry, the qualities of the East Lothian course are not in question, but his ability to attract a sufficiently large number counts for him.
“It should be the Edinburgh Open,” said Slumbers. “A big city, it should embrace the Scottish Open in Muirfield. If we can do it, we can make the crowd grow and I would like to organize an Open around Muirfield again.”
For this to happen, however, there has to be the kind of collaboration with local government that allowed Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland to return to the Open Rota last year.
Referring to Muirfield, Slumbers added: “We have to do more work to get there.
“Northern Ireland has really invested in getting it right and I would like us to work more closely with [Scottish] tourist office and government to provide the same quality of support. “
It seems more likely that Muirfield will host the Women’s Open, now run entirely by R&A, before the best men in the world return to the field.
“I think it would be an interesting idea,” said Slumbers.