R&A to scrap controversial ‘no-readmission’ policy for 2022 British Open

Since 2017 spectators have been unable to leave and then return to a host venue

Collin Morikawa celebrates his victory in the 149th British Open at Royal St George’s. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty

Collin Morikawa celebrates his victory in the 149th British Open at Royal St George’s. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty

 

The R&A is to scrap a controversial ‘no-readmission’ policy for those attending the British Open, starting at St Andrews in 2022.

Since 2017 at Royal Birkdale, Open ticket holders have had no scope to leave and return to the tournament venue on any given day. This has caused considerable anger in towns as stage the championship – with Carnoustie in 2018 a notable case – due to local businesses believing they cannot appropriately benefit from what is typically the rare staging of the world’s oldest major.

Spectators themselves have been irked by the sense they are locked in to purchasing the Open’s typically expensive food and drink offerings on top of ticket costs. An adult daily brief from Thursday to Sunday next year will cost £95.

The R&A has always insisted their rule was necessary to crack down on the sale of non-official or pirate hospitality, as often latched onto Open branding. The next playing of the championship will see a return to the pre-2017 approach, meaning freedom for spectators attending the Old Course.

A spokesman for the R&A said: “We have reviewed our no readmission policy following the Open at Royal St George’s and believe it has proved effective in deterring unofficial hospitality providers and protecting fans.

“In light of this, we have decided to amend the policy for the 150th Open at St Andrews and future championships so that ticket holders will be able to come and go from the venue. We will monitor the situation closely, however, and if these problems re-occur we will consider reinstating the policy.”

The news will also delight businesses around Royal Liverpool, as will stage the 2023 Open, and Royal Troon, the venue for 2024. Royal Portrush is expected to be named as the Open’s venue for 2025, after the hugely successful return of the competition to Northern Ireland in 2019.

Three years ago David Valentine, the proprietor of a golf shop across the street from Carnoustie’s championship links, started an online petition as stated of spectators: “The R&A’s ‘no-readmission’ policy will effectively lock them on course all day, every day unless they pay again.” - Guardian

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