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British Open 2023: Players, caddies put on high security alert, told not to tackle protest group at championship

July 18, 2023
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GLYN KIRK

HOYLAKE, England — The Open Championship has been put on a high security alert regarding a protest group.

Players and caddies at Royal Liverpool have been warned about Just Stop Oil, a collection of demonstrators attempting to force the British government to end fossil-fuel licensing and production. The group has been targeting sporting and entertainment venues to protest, including at Wimbledon, the World Snooker Championship, and rugby’s Premiership final in recent weeks. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently said the “eco-zealots” are “not content with disrupting our summer and cherished sporting events, they are essentially leading us into an energy surrender.”

Sunak and his administration have given police greater latitude in their powers to quell the movement. That includes at the Open, where oddsmakers believe Royal Liverpool will be the next target of activism.

In response, the R&A and local authorities have increased security presence at Hoylake, including a number of plain-clothes officers. The Merseyside police issued a statement on the matter, saying “contingency plans are in place to allow visitors to enjoy the Open with minimal disruption.”

Should the protesters emerge during the competition, players have been told not to tackle the demonstrators and instead allow police and security to handle the situation. This is in response to a cricket player recently carrying off a protester from the field during a match.

Hoylake is not a stranger to protests. At the 2006 Open protestors threw dye on the 18th green as Tiger Woods approached at the end of the championship.

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​​Is it the British Open or the Open Championship? The name of the final men’s major of the golf season is a subject of continued discussion. The event’s official name, as explained in this op-ed by former R&A chairman Ian Pattinson, is the Open Championship. But since many United States golf fans continue to refer to it as the British Open, and search news around the event accordingly, Golf Digest continues to utilize both names in its coverage.