The R&A announced overnight that it has “cautious optimism” its Open Championship will be played this year.
The Open was the only Major to be cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a move made partially due to the various travel and health restrictions in place and also, sources told Golf Digest, because of an insurance policy. It was the first time since 1945 (postponed because of World War II) that the Open wasn’t conducted.
While the pandemic continues to rage across the world, professional golf has been back in the United States since June last year with the European Tour resuming operations in July, leading to R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers stating his focus on “delivering a fantastic championship for the country and the world of golf”.
Slumbers acknowledged the difficulties that remain with hosting a tournament during a pandemic, and assured fans that the R&A is working with the government and medical advisers in staging the 2021 Open. For the moment Slumbers plans on hosting a “full-scale championship” but also said the R&A has a contingency to host an event with a limited number of fans or one closed off to the public entirely.
“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,” Slumbers said. “We will be doing all we can to make that happen while ensuring the safety of all involved and following all necessary government guidance.”
The 149th Open is scheduled to begin on July 15 at Royal St George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, England. Shane Lowry is the defending champion.