After the publication deadline for the September issue, I had a chance to speak with Malcolm Booth, the director of sales and marketing at the R&A (and my cycling mate during three stage routes of the Giro d’Italia in 2016) about the efforts to have the world use the desired name for the golf major held in the United Kingdom. He acknowledged the increased efforts by the R&A to bring all parts of the world on board with the title “The Open Championship” or simply “The Open,” as opposed to “The British Open,” but he was careful not to overstate the position of the R&A. “We don’t feel too strongly about it,” said Booth. “But in an increasingly globalized and digitalized world, it is important to have consistency across the board, and we would prefer to eliminate any confusion.”
Booth also pointed out that calling the tournament “The Open” is also a nod to the heritage of the event. It really was the beginning of open competition in any sport. “That heritage, the connection to the origins of the sport, and the fact that The Open became the blueprint for so many other competitions in sport make us confident in calling it ‘The Open.’” Plus, he noted, “it’s not like we beat everyone to the punch by six months.” The Open Championship predates the U.S. Open (the second oldest of golf’s majors) by 35 years.
My final word on this? It wasn’t that hard for us to move from “Peking” to “Beijing” in order to call the capital of China by its real name, rather than the name early foreign travelers thought they heard. The adjustment from “The British Open” to “The Open” should be well within our capabilities.
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