The Open 2017
Jul 20th, 2017
Why The Open is closed for business
As R&A cancels Open readmission
Words: GolfPunk Photography: Getty Images
The R&A are not allowing ticket holders who leave the venue to be readmitted at this year’s tournament at Royal Birkdale, and it’s causing quite a stir not only in Southport, but in next year’s Open venue Carnoustie.
The R&A has said the policy will be reviewed before the tournament returns to Carnoustie next year, but worries have been expressed about the impact this rule could have on the town’s businesses.
David Valentine, the owner of Simpsons of Carnoustie, the world’s second oldest golf shop, said the policy would be a “big blow” if it is still in place next year.
He said: “It would affect pubs, cafes and shops in the town. To do this at major events is a big blow to the very people who support the golf courses year in, year out.
“Without the businesses and the people of Carnoustie, who purchased the links in 1892, The Open would not receive the wonderful welcome it has always enjoyed. I can only hope the R&A can reverse that decision.”
The R&A’s recent ruling has not been well received in Southport either. Many businesses stocked up ahead of the event, only to find that this new restriction would have a negative impact on their businesses.
GolfPunk understands that the ruling is in part driven by the R&A’s desire to clamp down on unofficial hospitality being offered off the course.
But they have clearly not been bothered about the impact their decision has made on a host of small businesses in the immediate vicinity of the course.
It’s also a bit of a liberty in our opinion. You spend your hard earned money for your ticket, but then your movements are totally restricted. This doesn’t happen at other sporting events, so why should it apply at The Open?
If you go to Lords, and want to nip out for a bit of lunch, then no dramas, but not any more at The Open.
It can be a long day out on the links, especially if you want to see the early starters. Many people we know want to take a natural break in the middle of the day, and nip out for pint and a bite to eat, rather than having to fork out £10 for some fish and chips at the course. if you were eating off the course, you can get a Steak & Kidney pudding, mushy peas, chips and heavenly gravy for just £4.95.
This poorly thought through decision looks rapacious, mean–spirited, and lacking any proper consideration for the spectators. It’s inflexible, and frankly crass.
It's also a bit rich given that the R&A have been highly critical of the BBC's golf coverage, with CEO Martin Slumbers calling it "tired and outdated." This decision makes you feel that you are dealing with an old fashioned cartel, which is trying to squeeze the life out of anyone else benefiting from the event.
The Open should have a positive impact on the local community, which has to put up with the disruption that a major sporting event can cause. But rather than being The Open, it looks like the R&A is choosing to make it The Closed.