The Open to welcome 32,000 fans a day in boost for Royal St George’s

The Open will admit up to 32,000 spectators each competition day at this year’s championship, organisers have announced.

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

Royal St George's will hold up to 32,000 each day the Open
Royal St George’s will hold up to 32,000 each day the Open (David Davies/PA)

It has now been confirmed the Open 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.

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.

The Open, one of golf's most coveted and distinctive events, was not held in 2020
The Open, one of golf’s most coveted and distinctive events, was not held in 2020 (Jane Barlow/PA)

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.

“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: “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.”