The Open staging in doubt
The Open staging in doubt

With the sporting calendar being extended into the summer and beyond, thoughts are beginning to turn towards the fate of arguably Kent’s biggest sporting event of the summer and whether or not it will take place.

The 149th Open Championship is due to be held at the Royal St George’s Club in Sandwich from Thursday 16th July with the successor to Shane Lowry’s 2019 triumph at Portrush being crowned the following Sunday, and will be the 15th Open held at the course with the last one being in 2011 which was won so memorably by Darren Clarke.

But following the cancellation of the Players Championship and the postponement of the Masters and the USPGA Championship, thoughts in the Golfing world now turn to St George’s… and the question will the world’s best come to Kent this year or not?

The event has sold out on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and this past week, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club through the “Open Ticket Office” sent an email to ticket holders informing them ,”We are closely monitoring the constantly-moving situation in the COVID-19 pandemic and carefully following the advice issued to us by the UK Government, relevant health authorities and our medical consultants.”

“We are undertaking a comprehensive evaluation of our plans to stage The 149th Open at Royal St George’s and the AIG Women’s British Open at Royal Troon, which are four and five months away respectively. This includes examining a range of scenarios for staging the championships, with our focus on proceeding as planned, as well as considering other contingency options available to us.”

It went onto underline the safety concerns of the R&A by saying, “Our absolute priority is to ensure the safety of players, fans, officials, staff and all involved in our championships and that will be at the forefront of our thinking as we monitor developments.”

“We have some time before we start building the infrastructure at both venues and so we are keeping the scheduled dates in place for The Open and AIG Women’s British Open at this point. We recognise that this is a rapidly changing situation and we will keep everyone informed of any changes to our plans. These are difficult times but we are bearing in mind our responsibility for what’s right for golf and most importantly for society.”