By Ed Osmond
SANDWICH, England (Reuters) – Organisers are relieved and thrilled to have the ability to stage the 149th British Open this week after the 2020 occasion was cancelled as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, R&A chief government Martin Slumbers stated on Wednesday.
The world’s main golfers are gathered at Royal St George’s for the yr’s fourth main beginning on Thursday.
“After such a troublesome time within the final yr or so for the entire world, I’ve to confess we’re relieved, thrilled, and slightly bit emotional in with the ability to get to stage The Open as soon as once more,” Slumbers instructed a information convention.
“It’s an ideal privilege to welcome the very best males’s golfers world wide and a lot of followers to the championship.”
Slumbers stated the COVID-19 security protocols had offered an enormous logistical problem.
“We’re underneath no illusions of the complexity of the issues which are attributable to the pandemic, particularly whenever you’re attempting to stage a world sporting occasion with gamers from 27 totally different nations collaborating,” he stated.
“Now we have labored extensively with golf and well being authorities to have the ability to make that work.”
A lot of gamers have withdrawn from the event, together with Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama of Japan and American Zach Johnson, the 2015 British Open winner.
“Now we have seen some participant withdrawals, however they’ve been for a lot of totally different causes whenever you have a look at it,” Slumbers stated.
“On the finish of the day, what counts is that we’ll have 156 of the world’s finest males gamers teeing off tomorrow morning, and on Sunday we are going to current the Claret Jug to the subsequent Champion
The event will welcome 32,000 spectators every day as a part of a authorities check occasion.
Eventually week’s Scottish Open a spectator received on to a tee and took a membership out of former British Open champion Rory McIlroy’s bag.
“We’re deeply acutely aware on a regular basis of the well being and security, significantly the security of the gamers, no extra so this yr than in earlier years,” Slumbers stated.
“However we’re not altering any of the procedures across the tee. As a spectator, you may’t get on the tee. Now we have sufficient marshals round our tees to forestall that,” he added.
The crowds might be held additional away from the gamers than regular.
“Spectators play an enormous half in sport, however we should not neglect we’re staging a serious occasion nonetheless in the midst of a world pandemic,” Slumbers stated.
(Reporting by Ed Osmond, enhancing by Christian Radnedge)