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R&A plans on hosting "significant number of fans" for 2021 Open

May 11, 2021

Andrew Redington

The R&A said it plans to host a “significant number of fans” for the Open Championship.

In a statement Tuesday R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers addressed the sport on the R&A’s attendance plans for its flagship event. Citing the growing vaccine rollout in the United Kingdom, Slumers said the Open, which was the only major championship postponed last year due to the pandemic, will welcome back fans this summer at Royal St George's Golf Club.

“I would like to be able to give greater clarity on our plans at this stage but we recognize 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,” Slumbers said. “In the meantime, we are emailing our ticketholders and hospitality purchasers with more information about their tickets. We are contacting international ticketholders to assist them with refund options if they are unable to travel due to international travel restrictions.

"I fully recognize the challenges that awaiting further guidance causes for our fans, players, volunteers and officials and appreciate that it is making it difficult for people to confirm their plans just yet. I apologize for any inconvenience this is causing and thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through the process and respond to the government guidance as it emerges. We will provide further updates in the coming weeks.”

Augusta National welcomed back a limited number of patrons for this year’s Masters, with the PGA of America expected to host around 10,000 fans at next week’s PGA Championship. The USGA is also bringing back fans to June’s U.S. Open, although residents outside of California will need to show proof of vaccination.

Slumbers continued that the R&A is working with government and public health authorities to ensure it complies fully with all emerging guidelines.

"Our end goal remains to stage a fantastic Open at Royal St George’s and give our fans and players something to be genuinely thrilled about this summer. It has been too long since we have been able to see the world’s best men’s golfers competing on one of our greatest links courses and I’m sure you are looking forward as eagerly as I am to what will be a truly memorable sporting occasion."

This year’s Open begins July 15. Shane Lowry is the defending champ.