British Open confident there’ll be no repeat of security breach

Strict protocols leaves players at risk of disqualification for breaching the rules

Spectators view play from a small hill during practice for the British Open at St George’s. Photograph: Getty Images

Spectators view play from a small hill during practice for the British Open at St George’s. Photograph: Getty Images

 

R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers is confident the British Open Championship will not see a repeat of the security breach which marred last week’s Scottish Open.

A spectator smelling of alcohol was ejected from the tournament at the Renaissance Club after taking a club from Rory McIlroy’s bag on the 10th tee during Friday’s second round.

“We are deeply conscious all the time of the health and safety of the players, particularly their safety,” Slumbers said in a press conference at St George’s.

“We are not changing our procedures around the tee. As a spectator you can’t get on the tee. We have enough marshals around our tees to prevent that, including a number of army marshals.”

The R&A informed players that the championship will “operate under strict government oversight”, with guidelines which prohibit them from going to bars, restaurants and supermarkets during tournament week.

And Slumbers concedes it is “probably inevitable” that such strict protocols will result in issues, with players at risk of disqualification for breaching the rules.

“The worst thing you can get is a player being contact-traced because you are out for 10 days and (have to) quarantine and you can’t test out of it and you’re out of the championship,” Slumber said.

“There’s a different set of rationales for the players and for the spectators. But I think it’s probably inevitable that we will have some problems, and we understand that, so does government, so does (UK) Public Health, and we’ll work through that.

“We mustn’t forget we are staging a major event still in the middle of a global pandemic.”

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