GOLF: The Open to be played with or without spectators

Jul 17, 2017; Southport, ENG; Henrik Stenson (SWE) pose with the Claret Jug and Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of the R&A during a practice round of The 146th Open Championship golf tournament at Royal Birkdale Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

The Open Championship will go on this summer, even if there won’t be spectators.

“We will play The Open this year,” said Martin Slumbers, the chief executive officer of R&A, in an interview Tuesday with Sky Sports. “We are certainly planning to stage The Open, but clearly at this point there are multiple scenarios. It’s certainly a lot more complex than staging a normal Open Championship. But we are going to do everything we possibly can to put on a great championship for the country.”

The Open, golf’s oldest major tournament, was canceled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The PGA Championship, U.S. Open and Masters all were delayed but played without fans.

Slumbers said it will be up to the government and public health agencies to decide whether spectators will be allowed on site when the tournament is played July 15-18 at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England.

“I think there’s a very good possibility we will be able to have spectators, but we will have to wait and see how many,” Slumbers told Sky Sports. “We are balancing the health and safety of everyone involved, but I strongly believe The Open needs spectators. It will be really important to have some, but we want to make sure we do it smartly, intelligently and with due diligence.”

Officials at Augusta National said the Masters will go on in April with limited spectators.

–Field Level Media