The R&A confirmed today that it intends to play the AIG Women’s British Open at Royal Troon from 20-23 August without spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It will be the first women’s major championship to be played this year and will be broadcast globally to more than 11 million fans.
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “The AIG Women’s British Open is important to the success of women’s professional golf. We have been working closely with our title sponsor AIG, Visit Scotland, Royal Troon and our key advisors to find a way for the championship to be played safely this year.
“We believe that playing the AIG Women’s British Open is a significant step for players whose playing opportunities have been severely impacted this year. As they compete to be the 2020 champion in historic circumstances, these athletes will continue to inspire golfers and sports fans around the world, who will be closely following events from Royal Troon on TV and social media.”
Peter Zaffino, President & Global Chief Operating Officer, AIG, commented, “As part of our commitment to supporting women in business and society, AIG proudly stands as allies with the world-class field of diverse women golfers who will have an opportunity to compete before a global audience.
“We appreciate the collaborative efforts of The R&A, the United Kingdom and Scottish Governments to implement the necessary health and safety protocols that will allow the 2020 AIG Women’s British Open to be played under safe and responsible conditions.”
Fiona Hyslop, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, said, “Scotland is the home of golf and so it is fitting that we are on course to host golf’s first major of 2020, the AIG Women’s British Open.
“This is only possible thanks to the dedication of The R&A in working with the Scottish Government and other partners to develop comprehensive plans to allow for an event of this stature to take place, set against the most challenging of circumstances.
“We believe that playing the AIG Women’s British Open is a significant step for players whose playing opportunities have been severely impacted this year.” – Martin Slumbers
“I’m especially pleased that we are able to support the return of female professional golf, underlining our commitment to equality across both sport and society. Ayrshire’s magnificent coastline will present an outstanding backdrop for the championship, providing inspiration not only for those watching and dreaming of Scotland worldwide but those here in Scotland who will be excited to see the return of major events and championship golf.”
Nigel Huddleston, UK Sports Minister said, “It's fantastic news that the AIG Women’s British Open will be going ahead this summer and broadcast to millions of fans around the world.
“Getting elite women’s sports back safely remains a top priority – we're working hard to ensure we don't lose any of the great momentum that has built up in recent years.”
The field will be comprised of the leading players from the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings as well as recognising successful players from recent tournaments staged on the world’s leading Tours. Pre-qualifying and final qualifying events for the championship have unfortunately been cancelled based on health and safety advice.
The championship will enforce strict health and safety protocols including the creation of a bio secure zone. Only personnel essential to the championship’s onsite operations, namely players, caddies, officials, and staging staff, will be inside the zone with their movements for the week limited to the golf course and designated secure hotel.
All personnel will be required to return a negative COVID-19 test from an authorised testing centre and will be subject to further daily temperature checks and rigorous protocols designed to maintain the integrity of the zone and the health of those within it.
The playing of the championship is subject to the necessary approvals being secured. The R&A will continue to monitor the pandemic conditions and work closely with the Scottish and UK governments and the health authorities to ensure the championship is staged safely.