The Open 2021: Players face disqualification for Covid breaches

By Peter ScrivenerBBC Sport at Royal St George's
Players practising on the sixth green on Wednesday
Phil Mickelson donned a pair of shorts for a practice round with Dustin Johnson (white) on Wednesday
The 149th Open Championship
Venue: Royal St George's Date: 15-18 July
Coverage: Daily live text from 06:30 BST, Radio 5 Live from 12:00 and highlights on BBC Two at 20:00
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The 156 players at this week's Open Championship have been told they could be disqualified if they breach strict coronavirus protocols, says the R&A.

Players are not allowed to visit pubs, restaurants or supermarkets and must stay in approved hotels or private accommodation limited to four people.

R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said it is "probably inevitable" that they will face "problems".

"It's not us creating the rules, it's the UK law," he added.

"I expect the players to react and deal with that in a professional, responsible way."

When asked if a player would be disqualified if they were spotted in a bar, Slumbers replied: "I think he would be at risk of being disqualified, yes."

When pressed on the issue, he said: "I've learnt being in officiating and rules that you want to understand the circumstances, but I don't think that will be an issue.

"I think players know the risks. They don't want to put their fellow players at risk.

"The worst thing you can get is a player being contact traced, because you're out for 10 days and out of the championship."

There will be up to 32,000 spectators allowed on the Kent course on each of the four days of The Open, which starts on Thursday, and Slumbers pointed out there is "a different set of rationales for the players and for the spectators".

"They're here as part of a research programme for the government and the government will be monitoring all that," he said.

"They're actually trying to very responsibly understand with these big events how Covid does transmit outside, in 500, 600 acres of land and wind blowing and they're monitoring that.

"But I think it's probably inevitable that we will have some problems and we understand that, so does government, so does Public Health [England], and we'll work through that.

"We mustn't forget we are staging a major event still in the middle of a global pandemic."

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