Having been on the BBC for 60 years, the Open will have a new home come 2017.

Sporting giant Sky Sports have secured the exclusive rights to broadcast the British Open in a deal rumoured to be worth something in the region of £75 million (just over €99 million).

The highlights of the oldest major of them all will still be available on free-to-air channels, but live coverage of the event will switch to Sky, in a move that The Guardian speculate may bring about renewed debate about the list of sporting events that are protected for free-to-air broadcasts.

The change has been greeted with some criticism by the players themselves, amongst them Lee Westwood, who was joined by Graeme McDowell in describing it as “an absolute disgrace”.

However, managing director of Sky Sports, Barney Francis, argues the opposite side to the story saying that Sky is able to put more resources in to the product as a whole, and will produce better coverage as a result: “Sky Sports has a passion for golf that has spanned two decades, offering unrivalled commitment, airtime and promotion as well as year-round innovative coverage” he said, adding that they plan to "engage new and existing golf fans through our multi-platform coverage and also at the grassroots level via Sky Academy."

Via The Guardian. Main pic via PGA.com