The R&A has indicated that it expects to have a “significant number of fans” on-site for this year’s Open Championship.
The event, which was cancelled last year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, is scheduled to take place at Royal St George’s from July 15-18.
As lockdown restrictions continue to ease across the UK, there is real optimism amongst the championship organisers that a large number of fans will be allowed to attend.
In an update, R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said: "The situation with the COVID-19 pandemic continues to improve in the UK and the rapid roll-out of the vaccine programme gives us growing confidence that we will be able to welcome a significant number of fans to the championship as part of a reduced capacity model.
"The pandemic has certainly not gone away, however, and is still extracting a terrible human cost in some parts of the world. Our thoughts and best wishes continue to be with all those affected.
"We are working hard with the government, public health authorities and our health and safety advisers to ensure that we comply fully with all emerging guidelines. Our absolute priority is to ensure we can stage The Open safely for all involved.”
Slumbers added that the R&A hopes to be in a position to give clearer guidelines on ticketing, hospitality and volunteering before long, adding that the “end goal remains to stage a fantastic Open at Royal St George’s” where Ireland’s Shane Lowry will defend the title he won at Royal Portrush in 2019.
Slumbers said: “It has been too long since we have been able to see the world’s best men’s golfers competing on one of our greatest links courses and I’m sure you are looking forward as eagerly as I am to what will be a truly memorable sporting occasion.”