The iconic Claret Jug trophy, presented each summer to the Champion Golfer of the Year at The Open, is set to tour the United States over the coming weeks with Golf Channel.
NBC Sports Group is the new long-term broadcast partner for The Open, and NBC and Golf Channel will show television coverage of the Championship in the United States beginning this year. The trophy tour will engage with sports fans across the country and generate excitement for The 145th Open, taking place from 14-17 July 2016 at Royal Troon.
The historic trophy, first presented in 1873, will begin its journey this weekend at SXsports at South by Southwest (SXSW), the annual interactive media, film and music festival in Austin, Texas. Fans at SXSW will have the opportunity to get up close to the trophy in Golf Channel’s interactive social photo booth, where they can choose different background images from The Open using the green screen. Golf Channel personality David Feherty will also be on hand to help promote the display.
The tour will have a strong social media focus, with fans encouraged to share their photos with the trophy using the hashtag #ClaretJug.
Following SXSW, the trophy will appear at several events on the Golf Channel Amateur Tour, the largest amateur golf tour in North America, including the Western Masters at PGA West in La Quinta, California from April 2-3, the Disney Masters at Disney Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on April 16-17 and the Blackwolf Run Major in Kohler, Wisconsin on May 21-22. Participants and golf fans will have the chance to interact with the Claret Jug at each location.
Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director – Championships at The R&A said: “We are delighted to be working with our new broadcast partner, NBC Sports, to showcase The Open as the world’s championship. Golf Channel’s trophy tour will be a tremendous opportunity for sports fans across the United States to see this wonderful piece of history up close.”
Regina O’Brien, Senior Vice President, Marketing for Golf Channel, said: “The Claret Jug is one of the few trophies in sports that truly resonate on a global scale. We’re thrilled at the opportunity to share its storied legacy with such a large contingency of fans here in the United States.”
The Open returns to Royal Troon for the ninth time this summer and will bring together the world’s finest players in pursuit of the most coveted trophy in golf. American Zach Johnson will look to defend the title he won in a play-off over Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman at St Andrews in 2015 and become the seventh American in succession to lift the Claret Jug at Royal Troon.