WIRRAL Council has lost the opportunity to use next month’s Open Golf Championship to identify the preferred developers behind the proposed luxury golf resort scheme close to the renowned Royal Liverpool links.

Council bosses had hoped to make the announcement to a captive audience of world-wide media men and women reporting on the battle for the Claret Jug at Hoylake.

But leader Cllr Phil Davies said today that a preferred developer had been chosen but “Because some details are still  being worked” it would be late August or early September before  an announcement could be made.

He disclosed that the developer was “Internationally renowned”  and that people would be impressed when the announcement was made.

Despite the economic downturn of recent years no less than 20 developers and investors  expressed interest in joining forces with Wirral Council to develop a 285-acre site in Hoylake featuring a “signature” golf course, five star hotel and conference facilities.

The local authority vision is to create facilities that would become a tourist destination - both for golfers and families  - with a series of other leisure facilities such as water sports and pony trekking.

The aim is to construct an American-style golf course where water will be a big feature – in total contrast to the Royal Liverpool links and parkland courses found across the UK.

Developers will be tasked with creating a world-class facility to rival those at the K Club in Ireland, Celtic Manor in Wales and Gleneagles in Scotland where the Ryder Cup will be contested later in the year.

Royal Liverpool attendance figures for 2006 (230,000) have only been bettered by the 250,000 at the 2000 Open at St Andrews – the home of golf.

The R&A have made two concessions for next year’s tournament.  Golf enthusiasts will get special passes to leave the course and return later; and mobile phones will be allowed on the links  following a trial run at Royal Lytham last year.