R&A CEO cautiously optimistic for a normal Open Championship

Bernie McGuire
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R&A CEO cautiously optimistic for a normal Open Championship

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R& (Photo by Richard Heathcote/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

More encouraging news for those planning to cross the Irish Sea and see Shane Lowry defend his Open Championship title.

The R&A has already announced the staging of the 149th Open Championship will go ahead with or without fans and in the latest news, R&A CEO Martin Slumbers has directly reached out to fans with further hope of getting back to hosting a ‘normal’ championship.

“We are focused on staging the 149th Open at Royal St George’s from 11-18 July 2021 and on delivering a fantastic Championship for the country and the world of golf,” said Slumbers. “I would like to assure you, our fans as well as our players, officials, patrons, partners, contractors and suppliers that we will do all we can to make this summer’s Championship a huge success.

“We are acutely aware that this remains a difficult time for so many people and the continuing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is causing substantial disruption to all our lives but there is growing cause for optimism with the rapid roll-out of the vaccination programme. There are undoubtedly many more pressing concerns facing people at the moment, but we are trying to look forward with cautious optimism.

“We believe that seeing the world’s best men’s golfers in action at golf’s original championship will bring some much-needed joy and excitement back into our lives this summer.”

There is also the issue, as revealed in a meeting with the R&A this time last year, of some 2,000 shipping containers, the great majority needing to be shipped from Dubai, that need to be in Kent for a 1st April, 2021 start to build the infrastructure at Royal St. Georges.

So, the R&A will be hoping by then that the COVID concern will have eased so that work can go ahead. The worst case scenario would be to have all the grandstands and hospitality facilities in place and England, in particular, is hit with a further lockdown in July.

“With that in mind, we have been working closely with the government, our medical advisers and partner agencies as part of a rigorous scenario-planning exercise for staging The Open this year,” added Slumbers.

“We continue to plan for a full-scale championship but also have robust plans in place for a reduced capacity or behind closed doors model. I can also assure you that we would like nothing more than to welcome you, our amazing fans, to The Open once again this July. The We will be doing all we can to make that happen while ensuring the safety of all involved and following all necessary government guidance.”

 

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