‘Risk of Being Disqualified’ – R&A Chief Warns Players Against Protocol Breach at The Open Championship 2021

Published 07/14/2021, 12:09 PM EDT
Golf – The 149th Open Championship – Royal St George’s, Sandwich, Britain – July 13, 2021 Open Championship flags are seen during a practice round REUTERS/Paul Childs


The Open Championship is all set to begin on July 15 and R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers has warned players and advised them to adhere to all the protocols. While he did not directly say they would disqualify a player for breaking the protocols, he did mention that such a breach would put the player’s participation in danger. 

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The R&A conducts The Open, which was canceled last year due to COVID-19. And even this time, there are a few strict rules and regulations in place for the smooth conduct of the final major championship of the year. 

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Martin Slumbers warns players ahead of The Open Championship 2021

Golf – The 149th Open Championship – Royal St George’s, Sandwich, Britain – July 13, 2021 Chile’s Joaquin Niemann in action during a practice round REUTERS/Paul Childs

R&A chief Martin Slumbers gave a press conference on Wednesday and discussed various topics. But he focused on the rules and regulations set for the players and the fans in the stadium. 

“I think he would be at risk of being disqualified,” Slumbers said during an R&A news conference at Royal St. George’s, where the 149th Open championship begins Thursday. “I’ve learnt being in officiating and rules that you want to understand the circumstances, but I don’t think that will be an issue.”

“I think players know the risks. They know what will impact, they’re all responsible. They don’t want to put their fellow players at risk. I’d like to treat them as professionals in that regard.”

The primary protocol among all is the inability to go anywhere. Other than the player’s residence or golf course for a week, players are confined to a four-person bubble, including their caddie, trainer, manager, or coach. All these people must abide by the rules, or else the player’s disqualification is on the cards. 

How many fans can attend the event at the venue?

Golf – The 149th Open Championship – Royal St George’s, Sandwich, Britain – July 13, 2021 Bryson DeChambeau of the U.S. and caddie during a practice round REUTERS/Paul Childs

On the other end of these protocols is the fact that 32,000 spectators a day will be in attendance at the venue. That is just 80% of capacity, yet it’s the most at any professional golf tournament since the pandemic. Backing this decision, Slumbers said: 

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“We’ve worked really hard with the government to do that. We’re very conscious of the environment that we’re all operating in. There’s very strict conditions for any of those spectators to be able to get into the grounds, and they’re being held further back from the players than we would normally do.”

“If you go out, you can see the ropes are further back. But I think spectators play a massive part in sport; no different to The Open Championship. When you wait and see what the 18th is like on Sunday afternoon when the winner is coming down, when the crowds are in the grandstand, that’s what the Open is about for us.”

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Amey Kulkarni

137 articles

Amey Kulkarni is a Golf writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in mass media. Before joining EssentiallySports he used to write articles on Golf and Cricket on his personal blog cricgolf.

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