AIG Women's Open: R&A expect to welcome back fans for tournament at Carnoustie in August
"We are greatly encouraged that we will be able to welcome fans at the AIG Women's Open," says R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers; "Let's look forward to the final putt being rolled in on the 72nd hole to a huge roar from fans"
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 23/03/21 2:57pm
The R&A have confirmed they expect to welcome spectators to the AIG Women's Open in August, but warned that "nothing is certain" in the current climate.
R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers has posted an open letter on the official Championship website, expressing his excitement at the prospect of seeing fans lining the fairways of Carnoustie in August.
Despite the cancellation of The 149th Open at Royal St George's last year, the AIG Women's Open went ahead behind closed doors at Royal Troon, where Sophia Popov claimed a surprise two-shot victory in "the only major sporting event to be played in Scotland last summer".
Slumbers is now confident that the winning putt this year will be greeted by the appropriate cheers from the crowd and, while his message was mostly positive, there was a note of caution due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"Like many of you, we have been closely following the progress of the Scottish government's roadmap and welcome the growing sense of optimism that measures can be eased in the weeks ahead," wrote Slumbers.
"We share that positive sentiment and I would like to briefly update you on our plans for this year's AIG Women's Open, which will be played at Carnoustie from 19-22 August.
"The AIG Women's Open was the only major sporting event to be played in Scotland last summer. This was incredibly important to the women athletes who competed and whose playing opportunities had been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
"It was a fantastic championship with Sophia Popov's fairy-tale win proving perseverance, belief and hard work are the markers of success. However, one thing was missing - you, the fans.
"Fans bring a whole other dimension to the AIG Women's Open, from the cheers erupting across the course, to the nail-biting tension at the 72nd hole and the laughter, joy and camaraderie of celebrating the world's best women golfers. You are what elevates a championship from memorable to truly special.
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"We are greatly encouraged that we will be able to welcome fans at the AIG Women's Open and I would like to assure you that we are working with the Scottish and UK governments, our health and safety advisers, agencies and our partners at AIG to progress our plans to ensure that everyone can enjoy the action at Carnoustie safely.
"Nothing is certain with the COVID-19 pandemic but as the vaccine roll out continues at pace and the governments provide a clear framework for moving back toward normality, we believe that the AIG Women's Open will provide fans with something wonderful to anticipate this summer.
"Let's look forward to the final putt being rolled in on the 72nd hole to a huge roar from fans at the 2021 AIG Women's Open at Carnoustie."