The R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers had issued a statement with an update on how preparations were going for this year’s contest in July, after the event was cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Although A final decision on the number of fans allowed on site from July 11-18 has yet to be decided, with government decisions on social distancing, testing and Covid certification needing to be confirmed before an attendance limit can be announced.

In a statement, Slumbers said: “As we look forward with increasing optimism, and continuing caution, to an exciting summer of sport in the UK, I would like to update you on our planning for The 149th Open at Royal St George’s from 11-18 July 2021.

“The situation with the Covid-19 pandemic continues to improve in the UK and the rapid roll-out of the vaccine programme gives us growing confidence that we will be able to welcome a significant number of fans to the Championship as part of a reduced capacity model.

“The pandemic has certainly not gone away, however, and is still extracting a terrible human cost in some parts of the world. Our thoughts and best wishes continue to be with all those affected.

“We are working hard with the government, public health authorities and our health and safety advisers to ensure that we comply fully with all emerging guidelines. Our absolute priority is to ensure we can stage The Open safely for all involved.

“I would like to be able to give greater clarity on our plans at this stage but we recognise that a number of important decisions have still to be made by the government, on issues such as social distancing, testing and Covid certification, which will have a significant bearing on the potential level of attendance at the Championship.

“In the meantime, we are emailing our ticketholders and hospitality purchasers with more information about their tickets. We are contacting international ticketholders to assist them with refund options if they are unable to travel due to international travel restrictions.

“I fully recognize the challenges that awaiting further guidance causes for our fans, players, volunteers and officials and appreciate that it is making it difficult for people to confirm their plans just yet. I apologize for any inconvenience this is causing and thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through the process and respond to the government guidance as it emerges. We will provide further updates in the coming weeks.

“Our end goal remains to stage a fantastic Open at Royal St George’s and give our fans and players something to be genuinely thrilled about this summer. It has been too long since we have been able to see the world’s best men’s golfers competing on one of our greatest links courses and I’m sure you are looking forward as eagerly as I am to what will be a truly memorable sporting occasion.”

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