The Open to welcome 32,000 spectators a day in huge boost for golf fans

Up to 32,000 spectators will be admitted to each competition day of this year’s Open Championship, organisers have announced.

Shane Lowry celebrates his 2019 Open win at Royal Portrush with wife Wendy and daughter Iris. Picture: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images.
Shane Lowry celebrates his 2019 Open win at Royal Portrush with wife Wendy and daughter Iris. Picture: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images.

There had been uncertainty over the capacity for next month’s event at Royal St George’s in Kent after the UK Government announced earlier this month that existing Covid-19 restrictions would remain in place until July 19.

The Open, which is returning to the calendar this year after being cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, ends on July 18.

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It has now been confirmed the it will be included in the Government’s ‘Events Research Programme’, which will enable a number of events to take place with higher capacities than present guidance permits.

The Wimbledon championships and matches in the latter stages of Euro 2020 had already been included in the programme.

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A statement from the Open organisers, the R&A, read: “We can now confirm that we will be able to welcome up to 32,000 fans on each championship day of the 149th Open at Royal St George’s and that this will include those existing ticketholders and hospitality guests who have already purchased tickets.”

The Open week will begin on July 11 with the tournament itself starting on July 15.

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R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers, whose organisation has been in discussions with the Government, said: “We are pleased to now be able to proceed with our plans for having a significant attendance at this year’s Championship.

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“These fans will play a huge role in creating a very special atmosphere as the world’s best players compete for the Claret Jug and we look forward to welcoming them to Royal St George’s.”

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said: "The Open Championship returns to Royal St George's for the first time in a decade and what better way to welcome its return than with more than 30,000 fans each day watching the best golfers in the world battle it out for the famous Claret Jug.

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“We have always said we will do everything possible to return fans to our iconic cultural and sporting events as soon, and as safely, as possible — and thanks to the phenomenal success of our vaccine rollout and uptake of the NHS app we’re able to take another step forward through our flagship Events Research Programme.”

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