R&A comes un­der fire for re-en­try ban at the Open

CARNOUSTIE: Fears that lo­cal busi­nesses may suf­fer if vis­it­ing fans de­cide not to leave the links

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS - graeme sTrachaN gstra­chan@the­courier.co.uk

Golf’s gov­ern­ing body has been crit­i­cised for fail­ure to axe its ‘no read­mis­sions’ pol­icy at next year’s Open in Carnoustie.

The pol­icy was in­tro­duced at this year’s Open at Royal Birk­dale and An­gus Coun­cil pur­sued the is­sue with the R&A af­ter con­cerns were raised that busi­nesses in Carnoustie would suf­fer if the pol­icy was re­tained next year.

The R&A said the ad­mis­sions pol­icy has been “re­viewed and up­dated” af­ter be­ing as­sessed fol­low­ing the con­clu­sion of the tour­na­ment and fans “will not be per­mit­ted to re-en­ter the venue af­ter leav­ing Carnoustie”.

The golf au­thor­ity said the no read­mis­sions pol­icy was among steps be­ing taken “to pro­tect golf fans from the mis-sell­ing of tick­ets and hos­pi­tal­ity prod­ucts by un­of­fi­cial op­er­a­tors” at Carnoustie.

Carnoustie Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Trust (CCDT) will ap­proach the busi­ness com­mu­nity and other lo­cal groups and stake­hold­ers “to ex­plore what we can do to­gether to make up for the no read­mis­sions pol­icy”.

CCDT chair­man Derek Miller said: “It is, in­deed, dis­ap­point­ing that the R&A has de­cided to re­peat the no read­mis­sions pol­icy when the Open re­turns to Carnoustie next year.

“Lo­cal busi­nesses will be dis­ap­pointed by the lack of op­por­tu­nity to ben­e­fit from the Open spec­ta­tors while the play is on each day, but that just makes it all the more im­por­tant that we ex­plore and ex­ploit ev­ery other ben­e­fit we can ex­tract.”

He said there are also in­ves­ti­ga­tions un­der way into what can be done to make sure that “spec­ta­tors have a rea­son to linger in Carnoustie for a while at the end of each day’s play”.

Carnoustie In­de­pen­dent coun­cil­lor David Cheape sug­gested the pol­icy goes against the R&A’s em­pha­sis on “en­cour­ag­ing ju­nior golf”.

He said: “I am dis­ap­pointed with the out­come.

“Vis­i­tors will not be al­lowed to re-en­ter if they choose to leave the course and tented vil­lage venue at any time to take ad­van­tage of Carnoustie’s re­tail of­fer.

“Many of the food and bev­er­age es­tab­lish­ments in town have been look­ing for­ward to this event for some time.

“Sim­i­larly, it means Carnoustie’s own res­i­dents will not be able to pop home for lunch.

“Par­ents with young chil­dren who might wish to take their fam­ily along to the golf in the morn­ing and re­turn them­selves in the af­ter­noon will be un­able to do so. How does that pro­mote golf to young­sters?”

Bill Bow­man, Con­ser­va­tive MSP for the North East re­gion, said it was dis­ap­point­ing the R&A were stick­ing “with a pol­icy which may re­duce the ob­vi­ous fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits to the wider town”.

He said: “I don’t be­lieve that is in the spirit of help­ing the com­mu­nity you play in.”

John­nie Cole-Hamil­ton, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor – cham­pi­onships at the R&A, said it was “an ab­so­lute pri­or­ity” to pro­tect cus­tomers from rogue hos­pi­tal­ity op­er­a­tors and the mis-sell­ing of tick­ets.

He said: “We will be work­ing with the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, in­clud­ing An­gus Coun­cil, to en­sure that fraud pre­ven­tion mea­sures are in place and that lo­cal busi­nesses are made aware so that they don’t fall vic­tim to mis-sell­ing prac­tices.

“The no read­mis­sion pol­icy in­tro­duced at Royal Birk­dale also proved an ef­fec­tive de­ter­rent to th­ese un­of­fi­cial op­er­a­tors and was well re­ceived by more than 235,000 spec­ta­tors who at­tended the Cham­pi­onship.”

Fans turned up in big num­bers when the Open was held at Carnoustie in 1999. Lo­cals fear the R&A’s no re-en­try rule will leave many spec­ta­tors un­able to sam­ple the de­lights on of­fer in the An­gus town when the Cham­pi­onship re­turns to the course next year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.