Golf's 2021 Open will go ahead with fans or without, pledges R&A chief

This year’s Open Championship will definitely take place, with the R&A hopeful that some spectators will be in attendance at Royal St George’s in July.

Friday, 5th February 2021, 4:49 pm
R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers at the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie in 2018. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

The 149th edition of the Claret Jug event was cancelled at the Kent venue last summer due to the Covid-19 pandemic, leaving it as the only men’s major not to be played.

However, R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers has said that there will be no repeat of that scenario this year, with Shane Lowry defending the trophy on 15-18 July.

"We will play The Open this year," he told Sky Sports News. "We are certainly planning to stage The Open but clearly, at this point, there are multiple scenarios.

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"We are working with the government and health authorities, and it's certainly a lot more complex than staging a normal Open Championship.

“But we are going to do everything we possibly can to put on a great championship for the country.

"I think there's a very good possibility we will be able to have spectators but we will have to wait and see how many.

“We are balancing the health and safety of everyone involved, but I strongly believe The Open needs spectators.”

It was announced recently that Augusta National plans to admit a limited number of patrons at The Masters in April.

"It's quite interesting,” said Slumbers of that development. “After this dreadful year that we have all gone through, collaboration and learning are two concepts that we're all picking up a lot more," he added.

"So, yes, I'm talking to my colleagues at Augusta, I'm watching, I'm learning and we are all doing that as we grapple what's going to be the 'new normal'."

European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said earlier this week that the French Open, which has just been added to the 2021 schedule in May, is likely to be played behind closed doors at Le Golf National, near Paris.

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