The Open optimistic St George’s will have 30,000 daily spectators

An aerial view of the eighth hole at Royal St George's
Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke won his solitary major by claiming The Open at Royal St George’s in 2011

The R&A is optimistic 30,000 spectators will be allowed to attend each day of The Open at Royal St George’s in July.

The daily capacity at the course in Kent, which is hosting the championship for the 14th time, is usually 40,000.

“The one thing I am clear about is we will play The Open at St George’s,” said R&A chief Martin Slumbers.

“Uncertainty is about what the environment we will operate in will be. We are optimistic for a significant attendance of up to 75% of capacity.”

The Open was the only one of the four men’s majors cancelled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, with the Masters, US Open and US PGA Championship – all of which are hosted in the United States – being rescheduled for last autumn.

“While we would really like to provide certainty to everybody on how The Open will work, inevitably there remains great uncertainty,” added Slumbers.

“We’ve been working very closely with the UK government and Public Health [England] to understand what we can do and what we can’t do.

“There are multiple plans and multiple options.”

Slumbers confirmed that organisers were working at a capacity level of “somewhere between 25 and 75%”.

“That shows you the uncertainty that we’re having to work with,” he added.

“The players will be in a bubble with officials and the championship staff and they will be kept separate and away from whatever crowds we’re allowed to have.”

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