The Open could have ‘significant number of fans’, say organisers

There is a growing confidence The Open Championship at Royal St George’s in July could be attended by a “significant number of fans”, say organisers.

The tournament at the Kent course was cancelled in 2020 because of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Up to 10,000 fans will be permitted at outdoor sports venues in England from 17 May.

The 149th Open is due to take place in Sandwich from 15-18 July.

R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said: “The situation with the Covid-19 pandemic continues to improve in the UK and the rapid roll-out of the vaccine programme gives us growing confidence that we will be able to welcome a significant number of fans to the Championship as part of a reduced capacity model.

“We are working hard with the government, public health authorities and our health and safety advisers to ensure that we comply fully with all emerging guidelines.

“Our absolute priority is to ensure we can stage The Open safely for all involved.”

Slumbers added: “I would like to be able to give greater clarity on our plans at this stage but we recognise that a number of important decisions have still to be made by the government, on issues such as social distancing, testing and Covid certification, which will have a significant bearing on the potential level of attendance at the Championship.”