Organisers of the Open golf are planning to hold a “full-scale” event with fans in July.
R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers says they’re proceeding with “cautious optimism” due to the “rapid roll-out” of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
But back-up plans are in place for a limited number of spectators to attend – or for the championships to be held behind closed doors.
The Open will return to Royal St George’s for the first time since 2011, when Darren Clarke became champion golfer of the year.
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, gave the following message to The Open’s fans:
“We are focused on staging The 149th Open at Royal St George’s from 11-18 July 2021 and on delivering a fantastic Championship for the country and the world of golf. I would like to assure you our fans as well as our players, officials, patrons, partners, contractors and suppliers that we will do all we can to make this summer’s Championship a huge success.
“We are acutely aware that this remains a difficult time for so many people and the continuing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is causing substantial disruption to all our lives but there is growing cause for optimism with the rapid roll-out of the vaccination programme. There are undoubtedly many more pressing concerns facing people at the moment but we are trying to look forward with cautious optimism. We believe that seeing the world’s best men’s golfers in action at golf’s original Championship will bring some much needed joy and excitement back into our lives this summer.
“With that in mind, we have been working closely with the government, our medical advisers and partner agencies as part of a rigorous scenario-planning exercise for staging The Open this year. We continue to plan for a full-scale Championship but also have robust plans in place for a reduced capacity or behind closed doors model.
“I can also assure you that we would like nothing more than to welcome you, our amazing fans, to The Open once again this July. We will be doing all we can to make that happen while ensuring the safety of all involved and following all necessary government guidance.
“Thank you and stay safe.”