MX23RW : Friday, September 20 10:32:47| >> :600:17764412:17764412:

Brexit uncertainty a headache for Open Championship organisers

Brexit uncertainty a headache for Open Championship organisers
© Reuters
Portrush will stage the Open for the first time since 1951 this summer.

R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers admits he will be "quite pleased" when this year's Open Championship at Royal Portrush is over after revealing the "significant concern" being caused by Brexit.

Portrush will stage the Open for the first time since 1951 from July 18-21 and tickets for the championship days at the Northern Irish venue have already sold out.

However, that decision was announced in October 2015, eight months before the referendum to leave the European Union, and the continuing uncertainty surrounding Brexit – and in particular the backstop to retain an open border on the island of Ireland – is causing headaches for golf's governing body.

Martin Slumbers
Chief Executive of the R&A Martin Slumbers during the R&A press conference at Royal Troon Golf Club, South Ayrshire (Peter Byrne/PA)

"Like every business, and I think about the Open as such, the lack of certainty about the rules, the law in which we are operating under post-March 29 has caused us significant concern," Slumbers said.

"In hindsight would I be wanting to do Portrush in the year that we would be potentially leaving the European Union without a deal? No.

"We as a management team have spent a lot of time looking at contingencies and what we need to do. The future of the border is the number one concern. We have over 2000 containers (some from as far afield as the Middle East) to get across the Irish Sea and we start building on April 2.

"We have engagement with ministers and Parliament but the concern is all around certainty. If you know the rules you're playing by then you can play, you optimise what you've got.

"The problem is we don't know whether to reschedule to bring all our containers in through Dublin, whether to move them through Belfast, whether to ship them out of the UK now.

"It doesn't threaten the staging, we will make it happen. It's just more complex than we anticipated. For the insiders it's a bit harder but for everyone outside it won't impact at all, they won't notice.

"We are fully sold out for the championship days and 70 percent of the spectators are Irish. I think it will be very noisy and pretty exciting, especially if a few Irish players start to really perform."

He added: "We have a lot of material to move over there and we are determined to put on the best Open as we possibly can. It will be a commercially successful staging that will add a venue that is well through the 200,000 attendance mark that until recently we only used to get at St Andrews.

"That's important to me because big-time sport needs big-time crowds. We've had that at the last couple of Opens and we're certainly going to get that in July."

Rory McIlroy File Photo
Rory McIlroy is one of the home favourites (David Davies/PA)

Brexit is not the only cause for concern for the championship organisers, with Portrush having built two new holes to accommodate the tented village on what used to be the 17th and 18th on the Dunluce links.

"Someone said to me when I was out for the Latin American amateur championship 'You must be looking forward to Portrush' and I said well actually I'll be quite pleased when it's over," Slumbers added.

"We've never done an Open where we have to get all our stuff across the sea, we've never done an Open in Portrush, but the biggest thing is we've got a golf course that off the Open tees nobody has played with a card in their hand.

"So course set up, which is at the end of the day is my number one concern and responsibility, is with a complete blank canvas. We'll be there a lot on the golf course working out how we think they're going to play it and we've had a few Tour caddies there helping talk through how they think their players will play."

ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'});
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin);
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Phil Casey, Press Association Sport Golf Correspondent');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'bbb08dfb-6424-46c5-bf0b-7b3f15774fd7');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null);
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:golf,sport:other');
ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + + location.hash), 'title': 'Brexit uncertainty a headache for Open Championship organisers'});

body check tags ::

Click here for more stories about Martin Slumbers

Share this article now:
Instagram - Follow Sports Mole
Rory McIlroy in action at The Open on July 19, 2018
Read Next:
McIlroy will miss Irish Open to focus on preparing for Open at Royal Portrush

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
/esi/758/0/index.html - esi:0:site:0:-p-: {0}: - :T758:-: {0}: < ! - - T  758 {0} - - >  : 
Premier League
Rugby World Cup
La Liga
Serie A
Ligue 1
Primeira Liga
Turkish Super Lig
Belgian Pro League
Russian Premier League
Ukrainian Premier League
Danish Superliga
Swedish Allsvenskan
Segunda Division
Serie B
Ligue 2
Eerste Divisie
Welsh Premier League
Argentine Primera Division
Liga MX
Chinese Super League
Premier League 2 - Div 1
Premier League 2 - Div 2
Premiership Rugby Cup
Super League Playoffs

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account