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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 February, 2004, 20:54 GMT
'Golf coast' becomes gold coast
Mark O'Meara
Winner Mark O'Meara at Royal Birkdale in 1998
The "golf coast" is set to become the gold coast as Merseyside prepares to host one of the world's top tournaments twice in three years.

Royal Birkdale hosts the 2008 Open Golf Championship, two years after the Royal Liverpool Course in Hoylake, Wirral.

Monday's announcement is also being toasted in neighbouring Liverpool as it coincides with the city's year as European Capital of Culture.

The events could net anything between 50m and 100m for each area.

Shops bars, hotels and restaurants in Southport are already preparing for more than 400,000 spectators, tournament officials, the media, golfers and their entourages.

"It's just wonderful," said estate agent Peter Brown, who worked for the estate agents in charge of house lettings the last time the tournament was in Southport.

'Economic boost'

He said some householders could earn between 15,000 to 18,000 for the tournament by renting their homes to players or spectators.

And corporate sponsors are the latest people looking to rent property not just for accommodation but for corporate hospitality.

"You can have some houses near the course with two or three hospitality tents in the garden," he said.

Meanwhile the bigger hotels are hoping for the biggest prize of all - being selected as the official tournament hotel.

The news was welcomed by Wirral Council which has similar expectations when the Open comes to Hoylake and sees it as a vindication for its promotion of the region as the "golf coast."

The borough has 14 courses (10 private and four council) and has worked jointly with Sefton Council on this promotion although Sefton is quick to described Southport as the "golf coast's golf capital."


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