By Zjan Shirinian

The picturesque Royal Birkdale Golf Club will host The Open Championship in 2017 ©Getty ImagesRoyal Birkdale Golf Club will stage The Open Championship in 2017, with Carnoustie hosting the Major the following year, the Royal & Ancient (R&A) has revealed.

The announcement was made at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia alongside five-time Open champion Tom Watson, who won at Royal Birkdale in 1983 and at Carnoustie in 1975.

"I am delighted to see The Open returning to two great venues in Royal Birkdale and Carnoustie," he said.

"I know both courses are held in high regard by the players and I certainly consider them to be wonderful tests of golf."

Royal Birkdale in the North-West English town of Southport, will host The Open for the 10th time in 2017.

Ireland's Padraig Harrington won by four shots from England's Ian Poulter when the Championship was last played there in 2008.

Australian Peter Thomson and Americans Mark O' Meara, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and Johnny Miller have all also won there.

Richard Hunt, the captain of Royal Birkdale, said: "The club has a long and proud history of hosting The Open and some of the game's greatest players have won here.

"We regard it as a privilege to host the Championship and look forward to seeing the world's top players facing the challenges of Royal Birkdale once again."

Padraig Harrington was victorious when The Open Championship was last at Carnoustie in 2007 - 11 years on in 2018 it will stage the Major again ©Getty ImagesPadraig Harrington was victorious when The Open Championship was last at Carnoustie in 2007 - 11 years on in 2018 it will stage the Major again ©Getty Images

Carnoustie, meanwhile, will host The Open for the eighth time in 2018.

The golf course in Angus, Scotland last hosted the Major in 2007, an event also won by Harrington after he beat Spaniard Sergio Garcia in a playoff.

In 1999, Scotland's Paul Lawrie triumphed after a playoff with American Justin Leonard and Jean Van de Velde of France.

Americans Ben Hogan and Tommy Armour, Englishman Henry Cotton and South African Gary Player have also won there.

Pat Sawers, Carnoustie Golf Links chairman, said: "We are very much looking forward to welcoming The Open Championship back for an eighth time to the historic links at Carnoustie in 2018 and feel sure the Championship will generate just as much interest and excitement as in previous years.

"We believe the fact the R&A has invited us to stage the 2018 Championship will provide a big boost to golf in the local area and will have a beneficial effect on our on-going efforts to attract more local youngsters into the game."

The Open Championship will be played at Royal Birkdale from July 20 to 23, 2017 and at Carnoustie from July 19 to 22, 2018.

This year's Championship is being held at Royal Liverpool Golf Club for the 12th time from July 17 to 20.