You'll have to pay to watch the British Open next year as BBC pulls the plug early 4 years ago

You'll have to pay to watch the British Open next year as BBC pulls the plug early

Live coverage of the British Open next year will be exclusively on Sky Sports.

The subscription television provider had bought exclusive rights from 2017, but the BBC have come to an agreement with the R&A to end their deal a year early - meaning from next year the broadcaster will only screen an evening highlights show.

Therefore if you want to watch Rory McIlroy try and regain the Claret Jug at Royal Troon after missing this year's St Andrew's renewal, you will have to fork out for a Sky Sports subscription.

In a blog post, the BBC's director of Sport Barbara Slater explained that the British broadcaster has been forced by financial contraints to make difficult choices surrounding their live coverage.

"We have already made long term commitments to a wide range of major sporting events, including the Wimbledon Championships to 2020, the next two Football World Cups, Match of the Day to 2019, 6 Nations to 2021 and the next three Olympic Games," wrote Slater.

"So following the announcement that Sky had been awarded the live TV rights to The Open and in light of financial developments since, the choice to amend the current contract from next year was a pragmatic one.

"We know that many fans are unhappy with the loss of rights and in an ideal world the BBC would still be the home of live coverage of The Open."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX9x8IqT0Gk

In a way it is fitting that the BBC's 61-year association with the Open should end at the home of golf, St Andrew's. The Royal and Ancient club, are based at the Scottish course and it is believed Sky Sports offered the R&A double the £7million per year the BBC had previously been paying for live rights.

Zach Johnson will go down in history as the last winner of a "BBC Open" but most Irish viewers will remember it for the showing of Greystones amateur Paul Dunne, who lead the tournament after 54 holes.