European Tour to allow limited number of fans at the Scottish Open

September 18, 2020

Lee Westwood tees off without spectators during the first round of the Andalucia Masters earlier this month. The European Tour is set to let a limited number of fans attend the upcoming Scottish Open.

Luke Walker

The likes of Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Eddie Pepperell, Matt Wallace, Martin Kaymer and Robert MacIntyre are all playing in front of no spectators at this week’s U.S. Open. But that lack of atmosphere is soon to change—at least briefly—for them and everyone else on the European Tour. For the first time since the Qatar Masters in early March, spectators will be allowed entry to an event on the Old World circuit.

As part of an initial series of sporting and cultural events in Scotland (two football matches last weekend saw a limited number of fans allowed entry), next month’s Scottish Open at the Renaissance Club in East Lothian will see 650 fans on-site over the final two rounds. Keeping the need for travel to a minimum, every spectator will hail from nearby Edinburgh and the Lothians. All revenue from ticket sales will be donated to SAMH, Scotland’s national mental health charity.

The tournament will follow an inner and outer bubble protocol to allow spectator access to the course. Players, caddies, media and essential staff will remain within the tournament, or inner, bubble and be subject to the European Tour’s testing and health protocols. Spectators will remain in the outer bubble, maintaining distance from those within the tournament bubble. They will be subject to daily temperature checks and health questionnaires, and must follow stringent health protocols, including enhanced social distancing.

“While the numbers on site will be strictly limited to continue to minimize risk, we will be able to offer Scottish golf fans the opportunity to watch their national open, which we and the Scottish Government felt was important, if we were able to do so in a safe and controlled manner,” said championship director, Rory Colville. “It also gives us a great opportunity to tee off our partnership with Official Charity SAMH.”

The Scottish Open will be the second $7 million Rolex Series event on the reshaped 2020 Race to Dubai, one week before the third, the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.